By Ben McNicol
The Rugby Park side dominated the first half chances and made their big opportunity count shortly before the interval, Greg Kiltie getting the final touch on Youssouf Mulumbu’s strike to divert past Kyle Gourlay. Kiltie was in amongst the action in the second half and the forward scored his and Killie’s second of the afternoon with a superb curling effort.
Both sides would’ve been desperate to continue their unbeaten starts to this year and win this huge bottom six affair. Killie were held to a controversial draw against St Mirren last weekend while Accies demolished Motherwell in the Lanarkshire derby.
It was a quiet start to the game, with the first effort at goal not coming until the 20th minute, Kiltie doing excellently well to create space for himself, weaving through the box before dragging his effort wide of the target.
Hamilton’s first real sight of goal arrived on the half-hour mark when Hakeem Odoffin’s header came crashing off the bar. Kilmarnock opened the scoring on the 37th minute with the game’s first shot on target. Brian Rice’s side the architects of their own downfall as they failed to clear their lines properly and Mulumbu’s strike from the edge of the box was tapped home from close-range by Kiltie.
Hamilton made a change at the break as Callum Smith came on to replace David Moyo, sparking a bit more of an attacking threat from the visitors. Charlie Trafford came close to levelling when his dipping effort had Danny Rodgers scrambling before Scott McMann dragged Ross Callachan’s cut-back wide of the post.
However, up the other end Kilmarnock doubled their advantage. Rory McKenzie’s run left Kiltie in space and the forward produced a smart turn and curled beautifully into the bottom corner beyond Gourlay.
There was very little action to report in the final quarter of an hour as the game died a death, but that allowed recent Rugby Park recruit Dabo Diaguely to make his Kilmarnock debut. Here are three things we learned from a good day for Alex Dyer’s team.
Kilmarnock’s first home win since November
This win was Killie’s first home victory since the 3-1 triumph against Ross County in November. Dyer’s side deserved their three points and were perhaps unlucky not to add to their advantage.
It takes them unbeaten in three after a win over Motherwell and draw with St Mirren.
Kiltie hitting form
Kiltie was sublime here, putting in a man of the match performance and took his second goal very well in particular. That’s the 23-year-old’s first brace since May 2016 and takes him to three goals in three games.
It’s certainly the right time to be hitting top form following the departure of Eamonn Brophy to St Mirren.
Experience proves costly
Defensive duo Brian Easton and Aaron Martin have helped Hamilton keep four clean sheets in their last seven games and their absences proved vital this afternoon.
Rice’s young side played well in spells, but ultimately lacked that vital experience in key moments of the game.
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