After a defeat the previous week at the hands of Hearts, Alex Totten rang the changes for the visit of Celtic to Rugby Park. Jim Lauchlan, Derek Anderson & Billy Findlay were replaced by Ray Montgomerie, John Henry & Colin McKee.
With the rain lashing down at Rugby Park, referee Ian Taylor from Edinburgh was the occularly challenged man in the middle and got the game underway after the visitors did their Tellytubbies big hug.
No-one really got the upper hand in the early exchanges, the game was settling into your average meaty challenge-fest. That was until the 27th minute when John Henry chased a ball into the box, did Tom Boyd for skill & got a cross in. Ally Mitchell went up for the header with Thom & managed to flick the ball out into the path of the rampaging forward Mark Reilly. Mavis wasted no time in lashing his left foot through the ball. Boom - his dipping volley fizzed through the air, straight down the throat of Gordon Marshall in the visitor's goal before skittering through his legs and into the back of the net! 1-0 to the good guys!
It was all Killie as Totten's men continued to press forward, looking to kill the game off before half time. McKee had a glorious chance, with the Celtic defence posted missing & the ball begging to be headed past the rattled Marshall, he instead headed back across goal & ultimately out for a goal kick. Two more great chances followed; McKee pinged in a tester for Marshall, who again flapped like his chunky chicken namesake might do, before it got to your dinner plate, and just palmed it right back out in front of him. Unfortunately for us, no-one was up in support & the defence managed to clear the ball. The last big test before the half came from John Henry. He beat two defenders inside the box before letting rip at goal. Marshall, again with the ball control of a one-armed pool player managed to keep the ball from bouncing too far off him, as there was a player looking to snaffle up any clangers.
Half Time: 1 - 0
Killie didn't relent in the second half either. We knew Marshall was having a utter Dubourdeau & we kept piling forward in the hopes of breaking him. John Henry have the most glorious of chances when, after having done everything right and with only the faltering Marshall to beat, he hooked his shot wide.
"Well. If Kilmarnock don't win this match, John Henry will have a sleepless night," foreshadowed the BBC's Jock Brown...
The visitors brought on Paolo Di Canio for the ineffectual McLaughlin. Di Canio scored his first goal for Celtic to make it 1-1 just on the hour mark. Andreas Thom added a second on the break after we got caught out while looking to get back in front.
2-1 down, but undeterred, Killie kept on trying to get forward to snatch an equaliser. With time rapidly running out and the noise of more whistles than a Flintstones marathon filling the air inside Rugby Park.
The next goal would surely settle it, could we get a draw? Err... no. Unfortunately.
While we pushed on looking for a winner, Whitworth popping up on the right flank at one point, we gave up possession easily and it was Celtic who scored via a breakaway goal from Jorge Cadete. After being on top for so long in the match, it was a difficult one to take.
Full Time - Killie 1 - 3 Celtic
Team: Lekovic, MacPherson, Tallon, Monty, Whitworth, Reilly, Mitchell, Henry, Wright, McIntyre, McKee.
Subs: Holt & Brown for Henry & McKee
|Pos.||SFL Premiership Table||P||W||D||L||PTS.|
|5||Heart of Midlothian||1||1||0||0||3|