By Blair McNally
Kilmarnock kicked off their Scottish Championship season with an impressive 2-0 win over local rivals Ayr United.
Second half goals from new signing Liam Polworth and striker Innes Cameron saw Kilmarnock claim all three points under the floodlights at Rugby Park on the opening day of the season.
With an improved 3,692 fans in attendance, both sides battled frantically for every second ball in the pair’s first league meeting since 1993. Kilmarnock are in the Championship this season after relegation from the Premiership, eager for an immediate return.
They produced a number of dangerous crosses from the right but were unable to take advantage of a nervous Ayr outfit. The deadlock was finally broken in the 56th minute. A quick build-up on the edge of the Ayr box led to Kilmarnock’s Blair Alston charging through.
He got the ball to the feet of Polworth who made no mistake, calmly slotting the ball into the bottom corner. The home dominance continued and Kilmarnock were rewarded in the 85th minute with a penalty. Alston’s strike from the edge of the box was blocked by Ayr defender Jack Baird.
Ayr players were furious with referee Don Robertson as the ball looked to have struck Baird’s chest, but up stepped Cameron to confirm the win with a perfectly-placed penalty. Here are three things we learned.
Ayrshire bragging rights
Kilmarnock fans can claim their district as blue and white after a dominant performance started off their 2021/22 season with a win against Ayr. Tommy Wright’s men will now need to kick on from here, finishing the night top of the table.
Cameron still looks to be finding his feet as Wright’s preferred lone striker. The striker put himself about and did everything right on the night apart from score – that was until his penalty, of course. There’s developing to do, but the signs look good for Cameron at Rugby Park.
Tough tasks ahead for Honest Men
This performance proved that David Hopkin will need to find a rhythm in his side if they are to have success this year. The gap in quality between the sides was evident at times and Ayr will look to up the ante in upcoming encounters.
NTOF now offers a YouTube channel featuring exclusive interviews, post-match discussion, in-depth debate, and much more – LIKE and SUBSCRIBE and don’t miss any of our videos.