By Euan Wood
Two second half goals handed Kilmarnock an opening Premier Sports Cup victory over Lowland League side East Kilbride.
Fraser Murray netted his first Kilmarnock goal before he set up Jason Naismith as the two debutants earned Tommy Wright’s team a 2-0 victory. Stranraer top Group G after they were handed a 3-0 win over Greenock Morton, the Cappielow club forced to forfeit due to a Covid-19 outbreak.
Wright’s side started on the front foot with Chris Burke coming close to the opener after five minutes. A slack pass was intercepted by the experienced winger, who countered with pace, but his long-range effort was brilliantly stopped.
The hosts were denied the opener six minutes from the break. Conor Brennan’s long goal kick was superbly brought down by Joao Victoria, who slipped through Craig Malcolm, but the striker’s powerful effort was brilliantly stopped by Zach Hemming in the Kilmarnock goal.
Kilmarnock opened the scoring a few minutes into the second half. Blair Alston’s quick ball left new signing Murray one-on-one with the keeper and the former Hibs player made no mistake as he coolly slotted his strike into the net. Kilmarnock would double their lead on the hour-mark.
Murray’s whipped corner was misjudged by Brennan and Naismith couldn’t miss at the back post. Here are three things we learned.
Kilmarnock back to winning ways
Last season’s Premiership play-off defeat to Dundee ended Kilmarnock’s 28 year stay in the Scottish top-flight. After much disappointment, this victory was enjoyed by the restricted number of travelling Killie supporters at a sold-out K-Park.
New signings off the mark
Seven of Wright’s twelve new signings featured in this encounter, with Alston, Murray and Naismith all contributing to the two goals. Murray spent last season on loan to Dunfermline from Hibs and looks to be a shrewd piece of business for Kilmarnock.
EK battling to the end
This was an encouraging performance for Stephen Aitken’s side ahead of their Lowland League campaign, with the club desperate for promotion into League Two. With new experienced signings such as Lee Miller and Chris Millar, East Kilbride should do well in Scotland’s fifth tier.
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