A positive start at Parkhead couldn’t inspire Kilmarnock to a positive result as they eventually succumbed to a 3-1 loss against Celtic.
It started so well for Killie with their number nine Eamonn Brophy going down in the box. A penalty was given and ‘the Wolf’ stepped up and sent Fraser Forster the wrong way. Former Rugby Park defender Kristoffer Ajer equalised before a Kirk Broadfoot own goal put Celtic ahead before half time.
Alan Power was sent off 56 minutes in and Leigh Griffiths put the game beyond Kilmarnock with a strike four minutes later. Chances were had late on for Neil Lennon’s men but Killie did enough to walk away from this game with a respectable scoreline as their hosts took a big step towards the title, moving 12 points clear.
A Kilmarnock win against Rangers a couple of weeks ago had been followed up with defeats to Hibs and Aberdeen. It would be a tough ask, but a positive outcome at Parkhead would give the Rugby Park club a great boost after two defeats.
It was a dream start as Brophy stepped up to fire them in front from the spot. With six minutes on the clock though, that was only the start of the hard work Alex Dyer’s side were going to have to put in for victory or any sort of result.
Laurentiu Branescu was going to have to be in terrific form. He did make a great save to block Tom Rogic from distance before Griffiths was denied a route to goal after he combined well with Odsonne Edouard.
Simunovic then blasted a shot from 25 yards but Branescu matched the great shot with an equally-brilliant save. The Romanian couldn’t keep Celtic out forever and eventually he was beaten.
Killie failed to deal with a corner and Christopher Julien slotted in Ajer for an equaliser. Just four minutes later on the 33rd minute and Celtic were in full control of this match.
Another former Kilmarnock star in Greg Taylor caused his previous club problems, firing a cross into the box which hit the net after Edouard’s effort deflected off Broadfoot. After such a good start, it was an uphill task for Dyer’s men from here.
Branescu had to deny Edouard once more before the break as Kilmarnock looked to stay in this game. Killie’s Juventus loanee had to be alert early on in the second half to prevent Griffiths from getting a goal. Kilmarnock’s task was about to get so much harder.
Power was sent off for a second bookable offence following a slide tackle and on the hour mark Griffiths had his goal. A flowing move from Edouard to Ryan Christie was threaded into Griffiths who made sure Branescu had no chance of saving another one of his efforts.
Celtic were on easy street and it was more about damage limitation for Killie after the hour, especially with ten men. Griffiths had the ball in the net 18 minutes from time but it was ruled out for offside.
Bransescu’s efforts were surely frustrating Griffiths who was denied once again by the Juventus loanee as hit shot looked destined for the top corner. Nobody else was able to beat Branescu as the game finished 3-1.
It’s a disappointing result for Kilmarnock, especially after such a positive start. They now sit five points off the top six, with St Johnstone in eighth now level on points with them and Ross County a place behind just three points away.