Goals in either half from Kyle McAllister and Jon Obika earned St Mirren a comfortable 2-0 win over struggling Kilmarnock at the SMISA Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The first real opportunity of the game fell to the visitors in the 7th minute but Danny Whitehall dragged his shot wide and the Buddies soon established control.
McAllister fired wide on several occasions and Jamie McGrath stung Colin Doyle’s palms before the deadlock was finally broken in the 38th minute.
Ilkay Durmus was released down the left and he drove towards the byline before standing up a brilliant cross that McAllister headed back across goal and into the bottom left corner, despite Doyle’s best efforts to keep it out.
There was a reaction of sorts from Killie after the break but after Brandon Pierrick passed up their best opportunity, Saints soon got back into the groove.
Jim Goodwin was booked for dissent after Obika had a massive penalty appeal waved away by referee John Beaton in the 59th minute, but his side doubled their advantage two minutes later.
Alan Power was robbed of possession in his own area by Obika, who steadied himself before finishing emphatically into the bottom left corner.
Here are three things we learned from the game:
St Mirren look top six worthy but managerless Killie in trouble
The hosts bounced back from a midweek defeat to Hibernian here and held onto sixth position in the table.
They bossed the vast majority of the game and despite being without both Kristian Dennis and Colin Quaner, they still had enough quality in the final third to make their dominance tell.
Their defence was rock solid throughout and with Jake Doyle-Hayes continuing to pull the strings in midfield, they look every inch a top-six side.
Kilmarnock, on the other hand, were poor.
They created next to nothing in the first half and although they improved slightly in the second, St Mirren keeper Dean Lyness had very little to do.
A new manager needs to be appointed soon at Rugby Park if this side are to avoid a relegation scrap.
McAllister and Obika instrumental for Buddies
Jamie McGrath has been St Mirren’s main man in the final third so far this season and while he had another strong game here, it was McAllister and Obika who really stood out.
McAllister was lively from the off and involved in everything the hosts created, while Obika played the targetman role to perfection.
Therefore, it was fitting that both players got on the scoresheet.
On this showing, the biggest surprise was that McAllister’s goal was his first of the season.
Brandon Pierrick of Crystal Palace and Zech Medley of Arsenal both recently completed temporary moves to Rugby Park to boost the Killie squad for the final months of the season.
However, neither player managed to make an impact in their first starts for the Ayrshire club during what was another tough day.
Medley looked a little nervy early on at centre-back and a battle with Jon Obika was always going to be a baptism of fire, one he’ll no doubt benefit from.
Meanwhile, Pierrick wasn’t able to showcase his talent on the left wing in the first half as the visitors struggled for front-foot ball. The 19-year-old was replaced after an hour after a few flashes of pace.