Killie 0-2 Partick
SPFL Match 36 - May 7th 2016 - Rugby Park
SPFL Match 36 - May 7th 2016 - Rugby Park
No. of Shots
Shots on Target
Jamie MacDonald, Mark O'Hara, Conrad Balatoni (Alex Henshall 83), Lee Hodson, Miles Addison, Craig Slater (Kallum Higginbotham 68), Gary Dicker, Rory McKenzie, Greg Kiltie (Tope Obadeyi 67), Josh Magennis , Kris Boyd.
Subs Not Used: Conor Brennan, Stuart Findlay, Julien Faubert, Adam Frizzell.
David Shaw @ Rugby Park
Killie’s penultimate home league match against Plastic Whistle was attended by a healthy crowd of just under 6,000, most of whom had arrived at the stadium hoping to witness another great escape from Ayrshire’s finest. Last week’s demolition of Hamilton, coupled with Thistle’s capitulation to Inverness, suggested that a home win would not upset the bookies too much, and also bring Thistle within a whisker of being caught. So, not surprisingly, gaffer Lee Clark threw on the same starting line-up, with the exception of keeper MacDonald returning in goal.
Thistle lined up with Lawless and Doolan in their team – and let’s be honest - that’s all that Killie needed to worry about as those two always played well against us – and today would be no exception.
Killie began brightly and threatened through efforts by Magennis and Kiltie but it became clear that this match would not be a particularly memorable affair for the purists. Thistle’s gaffer, Alan Archibald, obviously knew that if you hit a high ball in the air and it bounces on an artificial pitch then it’s extremely hard to judge, or control. At times it seemed as if Addison and Balatoni were being bombed by the Luftwaffe as Thistle continually launched high balls at the pair, hoping that they would make a mistake. Unfortunately for Killie, the tactic worked and the Killie midfield was bypassed time and time again. It didn’t help that when Killie’s dynamic duo did manage to win the ball, they then hoofed it back up the field and so on and so on.
After 30 minutes, Boyd’s shirt was clearly tugged in the box and a penalty should have been awarded. Alas, referee Dallas ignored the claim – answers on a postcard as to why. Soon after, the inevitable happened. Another Thistle long ball wasn’t cleared and Lawless blasted in a left footer from 20 yards. The rest of the half continued in much the same vein as the ball was battered senseless by men masquerading as footballers. Killie trudged off the field a goal behind only to discover that Hamilton were a goal up on Dundee.
The second 45 started with Thistle launching high... you know the rest! Kiltie and McKenzie were not at the races in the first half as every time they got near the ball the Thistle midfield surrounded them. But after 50 minutes, McKenzie finally broke free from his captors and released Magennis on the right. He cut inside beautifully before laying it on a plate for Boyd, but his effort was too high. Then, a free kick was awarded just outside Thistle’s box when Dicker was upended. Boyd’s free kick rebounded off the wall and you began to feel that everything was going Thistle’s way.
Just after the hour, another hopeful punt up the park was mistimed by Addison and this time it was Doolan to finish off the match with a left foot shank that beat MacDonald at his right hand post.
Thistle fans began to taunt the home support with cries of “You’re just a shite Ayr United!” But their taunts would have had a greater effect if it had been “You’re just a shite Partick Thistle!” That would have been extremely hard to stomach!
Clark then brought on Tope, Higgy and Henshall to try and turn things around, and Killie did then start to improve with Boyd shooting narrowly past, but it was too late to save the game. Thistle continued to frustrate their opponents and Welsh almost scored their third, striking the bar in the dying moments.
With Hamilton winning at Dens Park, this now means that Killie go into the play-offs against Falkirk or Hibs – both of whom look miles better than Thistle or Hamilton. A vast improvement will be needed to have any chance of retaining our premier league status.
Best for Killie was Alan Robertson who made over 600 appearances for Killie and was given a terrific send off at half time. Best for Thistle was also Alan Robertson. This might have been a shocking day for Killie – but it was an even worse day for SPL football. The championship surely can’t be as bad as that – can it?
Lee Clark: "It's a blatant pull of the jersey at 0-0 (on Kris Boyd). Goals change games and, if you get the first goal, you gain confidence, especially after what we were coming off the back of last week. You can see it from where I am, you guys have probably seen it from the back of the stand, so why it hasn't been given I don't know. But that is not me blaming the officials for the end result. We're not going to be babies about it, we've got to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and go again and look at the next two games as important for us in terms of when it comes to the play-off. I've had the answer as to why we're in this position - it's inconsistency. When you see the performances, we've had strong ones but it's been results that have let us down. Another win would've given us a fighting chance going into Wednesday's game at Dundee but now we know it's the play-offs. There might be something different tactically I want to look at, something personnel-wise I want to look at. Ultimately, we want to give performances and results in the next two because winning breeds confidence. We want to win, take six points from six and see where that takes us in terms of our momentum and confidence for the play-offs. Falkirk and Hibs are terrific teams. But I have still got total belief in the players that, come the end of those play-off games, we'll still be a Premiership team".
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