10-man Kilmarnock saw off Hamilton Accies at Rugby Park as Alex Dyer’s side picked up their second win of the season, beating the Lanarkshire outfit 2-1.
A cagey start to the game from both sides resulted in the ball remaining in the middle of park for much of the opening minutes. An early whipped ball from Kilmarnock full-back Ross Millen narrowly missed the head of Greg Kiltie who could not get a touch on the ball to turn it into Ryan Fulton’s goal.
Shortly after it was Kilmarnock who would take the lead. Chris Burke proving that age is just a number by weaving his way towards the Hamilton box before being wiped out. The loose ball found its way to Greg Kiltie who lashed home to put the Ayrshire outfit 1-0 up inside the first 10 minutes.
Killie had plenty of possession in the opening phase, but Hamilton were showing once again that they were capable of sneaking a goal, Marios Ogkmpoe rose highest from a corner but saw his header saved by Danny Rogers at point-blank range. The rebound fell to Hakeem Odoffin who could hardly miss from two yards out, scoring his second of the season for Accies.
The game would be turned on its head a mere five minutes later with Eamonn Brophy sent off for a high challenge on Scott McMann. Referee Nick Walsh thought about it for a brief moment before reaching for his top pocket and sending the former Accies player for an early shower.
With Killie down to 10 men, Hamilton grew into the game; producing good chances and looking more composed on the ball. The best chance of the half, however, arrived at the feet of Nicke Kabamba. Clean through on goal after a superb pass from Aaron Tshibola, the big man got the ball caught under his feet and toppled to the turf, wasting a great chance to put his side 2-1 up heading into the break.
Kilmarnock emerged for the start of the second half and immediately looked like they had a point to prove, carving Hamilton open on several occasions and it didn’t take them long to restore the lead. Burke was first to try his luck testing Fulton in the Accies goal. The ball rebounded to Gary Dicker on the fringes of the 18-yard box. Lashing a shot towards goal, the Accies keeper made another save, however, Kabamba was there to fire in the rebound and give Killie the lead once again.
Hamilton would have chances of their own shortly after Kilmarnock restored their lead. A blocked clearance landed at the feet of Templeton who’s shot was blocked before it could reach Rogers’ goal. Substitute Charlie Trafford had another opportunity to slam home a blocked clearance, but his shot was equally stopped by the Kilmarnock defence once again.
Hamilton would ramp up the pressure in the last 10 minutes of the game, pushing for a clear shot at goal, David Moyo having the best chance at the back post. Trying to steer a header towards Rogers’ goal, his attempt fell into the gloves of the Killie keeper.
Accies efforts would ultimately be in vain as 10-man Kilmarnock saw out the remainder of the game and took an important three points that propels them up the table and into seventh. Accies meanwhile sit in 10th, a point above their Lanarkshire rivals Motherwell. Here are three things we learned.
Greg Kiltie makes Killie tick
Greg Kiltie has often been the forgotten man at Kilmarnock. The 23-year-old has been at the club since he was a teenager and put pen to paper on a deal that saw him stay at Rugby Park for the foreseeable future. Since then he has racked up injuries and been loaned out with the Kilmarnock support practically begging for him to be included in Alex Dyer’s plans.
Since the start of season Kiltie has impressed while playing in behind a striker or out on the wing. Killie have been relying on 36-year-old Burke to carry them up the pitch since Jordan Jones left the club but Kiltie appears to be filling the void left by the Northern Irishman. Adding goals and assists to his game would ensure that remains a mainstay on Dyer’s team sheet for the rest of the season.
Hamilton should stick to counter-attacking football
Last time out against Livingston, Accies were penned in for most of the match but managed to sneak away from West Lothian with three points. The story was much the same at Rugby Park with the home side the more dominant team in possession. However, much of Hamilton’s success came on the counter.
With keen runners like David Templeton and David Moyo, Accies are more than capable of carrying themselves up the pitch with pace. At the opposite end of the park they now have solid defenders in the form of Hakeem Odoffin and Shaun Want. Providing Hamilton can soak up the pressure every week there’s no reason they can’t sneak a few goals in and more importantly, a few points too.
It’ll likely be a range of emotions for both managers. Dyer will be delighted that his side managed to see out a victory, despite playing a man light for most of the game.
Rice meanwhile will be left frustrated by the fact his side couldn’t take advantage of it. Killie managed to ride this one out in fairly comfortable fashion, and whilst Dyer will take that as a big positive, his Accies counterpart will look to rectify that ahead of Dundee United’s visit next week.