It would be easy for Kilmarnock’s heads to go down following a 1-0 defeat to soon-to-be champions Celtic at Parkhead.
The hosts played tribute to Billy McNeill on an emotional day at Celtic Park but Kilmarnock can perhaps feel unfortunate they didn’t ruin their tribute.
Stephen O’Donnell is one of Kilmarnock’s star performers. With the game tied at 0-0, the right-back could well have won the visitors a spot kick. A neat one-two with Eamonn Brophy saw the full back continue into the box at speed.
A soft push from Scott Brown was waved away by the officials. Steve Clarke was potentially spot on in his assessment when he said it may have been soft, but it was a penalty.
Killie have every right to feel as though they should’ve entered half time in front. Scott Bain saved superbly from Chris Burke after the former Rangers veteran went clean through with the goal at his wake. Kilmarnock are always a threat and not just solely from one player either.
Liam Millar was excellent on his first league start and he and Conor McAleny both tested Bain with strikes towards goal. Brophy should also have probably done better after a Kristoffer Ajer error saw the striker race through but the Norwegian recovered with an excellent tackle.
A few main men missing
Kirk Broadfoot and former Celtic youth Stuart Findlay were suspended. However, the unorthodox pairing of Alex Bruce and Gary Dicker coped well as a central defence partnership. They were as organised as ever at the back and composed when passing out to clear rather than aimlessly hoofing up the park.
Dicker in particular, for not being a traditional centre back, with his reading of the game and sometimes last-ditch tackling. Often in the right place at the right time, the Irishman deserves immense credit for a great performance.
They may have lost a goal to the second part of a set piece, but otherwise it was a trademark Kilie performance under Clarke. Resolute, hard to break down and capable of creating opportunities.
Kilmarnock did all three at a tricky venue and there should be plenty positives to take in the coming weeks as they still chase a third place Premiership finish.