KILMARNOCK's defeat at Firhill a fortnight ago turned out to be a blessing in disguise. As every good supporter hoped it would do, it shook them out of their complacency and restored to their play that sense of grim determination and urgency that had been missing for a month. They took the field on Saturday at Rugby Park meaning to make somebody pay and Falkirk were the sufferers to the tune of a 9-2 trouncing. In this mood Kilmarnock would hare beaten any opposition in Scotland and probably well beyond its bounds as well. They played brilliantly, turning on a blend of pace, power and precision that had Falkirk baffled and bewildered and, long before the finish, thoroughly routed.
The rampant Rugby Parkers were up 6-0 at half-time and had added three more goals without reply with only 9 minutes of the second session gone. Scotland’s top-scoring winger, Brian McIlroy scored four and Jackie McInally three and if the former hadn't, missed a penalty kick the Killie tally would have run into double figures. Probably relaxing a little on account of the tremendous pace they set for the greater part of the game, Killie appeared to become careless on occasion in the later stages and Falkirk took advantage to score twice,
McInally's Quick Hat-Trick
The rout of the Bairns started in the first minute with a goal from McILROY, Young Stuart Layburn, deputising for the injured Andy King, sent the ball forward for the winger to crash a right foot shot past Whigham. Three minutes later Whigham could only parry another McIlroy shot and BEATTIE was at hand to flick the ball into the net. Hereabouts JACKIE McINALLY(right) stepped into the picture with a great 13-minute hat-trick. He shot his first in the 19th minute to complete a neat inter-passing move with Brown, netted his second 10 minutes later from a McIlroy-made opening and with. 32 minutes clocked moved right through the Falkirk defence in a great solo run which ended with him dribbling the ball round Whigham and flicking it into the net. Seconds from the interval came an amazing sixth goal for Kilmarnock from opportunist McILROY. Taking a short corner kick, Sneddon sent the ball to Beattie who in turn pushed it back to McILROY for the winger to beat Whigham from an almost impossible position on the bye-line.
The goal-hungry Killie fans, their appetite whetted by this first-half scoring spree, were shouting for more when the game resumed and they got them - 3 in 8 minutes. Sneddon, operating on the left wing, released a fast cross which Whigham could only parry and BROWN first-timed the ball to the back of the net. That was in the 2nd minute and in the 5th McILROY fastened on to a pass from Murray to make it 8-0 and complete his hat-trick. It took McILROY only 4 more minutes to make it 9-0 when he outpaced Rae and hammered another unsaveable shot past the 'keeper. And the final tally should have been at least ten for in the 61st minute, when Pierson pulled down McInally, Killie were awarded a penalty kick but McIlroy shot weakly and Whigham made an easy save.
Falkirk Hit Back
That finished the Killie goal spree, although McIlroy and Beattie later failed with likely chances to keep it going, but it didn't end the scoring. Falkirk hit back with two goals from MAXWELL. He shot the first seconds after the missed penalty and headed the second from a Fulton free-kick in 80 minutes. On top of this Fulton missed a great chance to make the final tally 9-3.
Despite their heavy defeat, Falkirk weren't such a bad side. The fact that Forsyth had to make a series of fine saves in. the first-half, that Falkirk scored twice in the second and Watson saved a certainty by heading clear from under the bar showed that against a less devastating, deadly soccer machine as this all-action hard-hitting Kilmarnock team they would not have been so far out of the picture. Whigham showed himself to be a "keeper of above average ability although losing nine goals and Rae and Pierson were serviceable half-backs. Maxwell and Wilson never stopped trying against a cock-a-hoop Killie defence
and the latter showed his flair for marksmanship with his two smartly-taken goals. Falkirk took their trouncing sportingly. The only jarring incident came in the first-half when Pierson had his name taken for a foul on Sneddon.
And what of mighty, majestic I Killie? Well this was a triumph for outstanding teamwork. The side hadn’t a weakling. Every man contributed to the victory with Beattie, McIlroy, Mclnally and Sneddon the five-star men. Manager Waddell’s move in introducing Jim McFadzean at right-half was a, winner. Jim played magnificently and young Layburn was again capable deputy for an injured full back regular. Sneddon played the greater part of the second-half at outside-left but even with his usefulness impaired by injury he was still a force to be reckoned with.
This great Kilmarnock display was worth travelling a long way to see. It was club football at its best and quickly wiped out the memory of their sorry performance of the previous week. Falkirk need not feel disgraced. Much superior teams would have fared little better against Kilmarnock in this mood. It was a display worthy of a much bigger attendance than around 8000.
Kilmarnock: Forsyth; Layburn and Watson; McFadzean, McGrory Beattie; Brown, McInally, Murray, Sneddon and Mcllroy.
Referee – R. Rodger, Stonehouse.