Saints 0-3 Killie
SPL, April 27th 2002, McDairmid Park
SPL, April 27th 2002, McDairmid Park
St Johnstone 0 Kilmarnock 3
(SPL Match Number 34 Apr 27th 2002)
Kilmarnock substitutes Tommy Johnson and Kris Boyd finally sparked some life into a dull game in front of the lowest ever Scottish Premier League crowd at St Johnstone, in a match the visitors won 3-0.
Johnson replaced Ally Mitchell at half-time and opened the scoring from a free-kick just after five minute, later before adding his second of the day nine minutes later.
Saints could have pulled a goal back when they were awarded a penalty after Paul Hartley was brought down by Gordon Marshall.
But second half sub Peter MacDonald's spot-kick was blocked by goalkeeper Gordon Marshall. (above).
Young substitute Kris Boyd also made an impact on the game when he netted the third goal with just six minutes remaining.
For those opposed to the idea of the Scottish Premier League splitting into two sections after 33 games, this game was the ideal case study to back that argument.
Seventh-placed Kilmarnock headed into the game one point ahead of Dunfermline - who sat one place above them in the table - knowing they had no chance of progressing any further despite the outcome of their remaining matches.
The indifference surrounding this particular game was underlined further by the fact that the attendance for an SPL game hit an all time low of just 2,285 - less than the previous record of 2610 who turned out to watch Dunfermline play Motherwell a year ago
St Johnstone had the opportunity to open the scoring after nine minutes when Craig Dargo hauled down Tommy Lovenkrands 30 yards out.
But Hartley hit the resultant free-kick long and low through the Killie defence but goalkeeper Marshall never really looked troubled and the effort was easily held.
Andy McLaren was easily the most impressive player in the first half and he was unlucky not to open the scoring from a free kick when he clipped the crossbar from 18 yards.
Kilmarnock manager Jim Jefferies opted to make two changes at half-time when Ally Mitchell was replaced by Johnson and youngster Sean Dillon was given his chance in place of Stephen Murray.
That decision paid off almost immediately for the Rugby Park side when they surged into the lead just five minutes after the re-start.
Former Celtic hitman Johnson stepped up for a free-kick on the corner of the area and left Cuthbert helpless when he fired low past the Saints goalkeeper into the bottom corner of the net to add some life to the game.
Saints tried to hit back six minutes later when Graeme Jones attempted the volley but the shot deflected off team-mate Hartley into the safety of goalkeeper Marshall's arms and the chance was lost.
Saints had the ideal opportunity to haul themselves back into the game after 69 minutes when referee Bobby Orr ruled Hartley was brought down by Marshall and pointed to the penalty spot.
MacDonald had replaced Keigan Parker five minutes earlier and he stepped up for the spot-kick only to aim straight at the goalkeeper who managed to block and retain the two goal advantage.
Then, with just six minutes remaining, they were hit by the proverbial sucker-punch when Killie raised their goal tally to three.
Once again, Jefferies made a wise choice when he opted to replace McLaren with teenage striker Kris Boyd (right)
And Dargo was the provider with a short ball that released Boyd to slot home after 84 minutes.
Referee: B Orr
Kilmarnock: Gordon Marshall, Peter Canero, Greg Shields, Frederic Dindeleux, Chris Innes, Alan Mahood, Ally Mitchell (Shaun Dillon, 45), Andy McLaren (Kris Boyd, 75), Michel Ngonge, Craig Dargo, Stephen Murray (Tommy Johnson, 45)
Subs: Colin Meldrum, Kris Boyd, Gary McDonald, Tommy Johnson, Shaun Dillon
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