Web reporter Martin McConnell’s view on Saturday’s home defeat
New Douglas Park, Hamilton
Saturday 30th April 2016.
Hamilton Academical 0 Kilmarnock 4
Killie did their Premiership survival chances no harm at all, with a convincing 4-0 win against Accies at New Douglas Park. The visitors were sharp and hungry, and went 1-0 up after Greg Kiltie struck from the edge of the penalty area after only 10 minutes. The wide man put his side two up 20 minutes later when Kris Boyd slipped the ball into space for Kiltie to slide it past Michael McGovern.
The second half didn’t see much of an improvement from Accies, and we went three down after Lucas Tagliapietra handled on the edge of the penalty area. The referee awarded a penalty kick and Kris Boyd comfortably converted from the spot. Josh Magennis then had a headed effort ruled offside before the Northern Irishman scored from a Greg Kiltie cut back.
The Hamilton performance was poor, maybe the worst at home this season. As well as contesting such a big match against a side that obvisouly looked up for the challenge, and playing at a level way above their league position. Accies undid all the previous two games good work. A complete reversal of last week’s match.
With all of last week’s first XI available to Martin Canning, it wasn’t at all surprising that the Accies manager decided to stick with the team that did so well in the 3-1 victory at Tannadice last Sunday afternoon. Killie boss Lee Clark made three changes, with Brennan, Slater and Magennis starting in place of Faubert, Higginbotham and the suspended MacDonald.
With only a minute of play underway at NDP, Killie almost took the lead when Craig Slater crossed into the Accies penalty area. Darian MacKinnon attempted to clear but his header came off of the cross bar to land straight at the feet of Greg Kiltie. The Killie winger shot from close range but Michael McGovern was handily placed to save.
The danger wasn’t over and the Accies defence had to survive an intense period of pressure before MacKinnon cleared to Carlton Morris. The Hamilton striker took the ball down the left hand side before skipping past a defender and delivering a perfect low ball into the six yard box. Unfortunately a defender matched Imrie’s run and cleared before the Accies midfielder could get a touch.
Accies looked like the side more likely score when Killie took a controversial 1-0 lead. McKenzie looked to have taken the ball out for an Accies goal kick, but he played the ball back for Greg Kiltie who wasted no time on pleasantries and blasted into the back of the net from 20 yards. Cue vociferous protests. Accies then countered with a Carlton Morris header that skimmed the Killie cross bar from a Darian MacKinnon cross.
Ziggy Gordon headed wide from a corner kick, then just failed to connect with an in swinging Ali Crawford free kick at the back post. Kiltie grabbed a second and put the visitors firmly in front, when Kris Boyd capitalised on a moment of indecisiveness at the back, to slip the ball through for Kiltie to calmly slide it past McGovern in the Hamilton goal.
An opportune half chance fell Dougie Imrie’s way when a deflected ball passed over the heads of the Kilmarnock defence. Imrie stepped forward as everyone moved away and found himself in clear space, but could only send his shot past the back post from a tight angle. Killie defender Gary Dicker then blasted an effort a foot wide of the Hamilton goal.
We finished the half with a decent attempt on goal that was magnificently saved by Conor Brennan. Dougie Imrie ran with the ball down the right hand side, and cut back to Ali Crawford on the edge of the penalty area. He managed to find some space once he’d gone past O’Hara, but his 16 yard strike was well saved by the Killie keeper.
The first ten minutes or so of the second half were pretty scrappy, with neither side creating anything due to poor passing and a lack of concentration. But Killie changed the direction of the match when they were awarded a spot kick after Tagliapietra handled the ball. Boyd stepped up and comfortably made it 3-0 Killie. Rory McKenzie then went close when he flighted the ball inches wide of goal.
The visitors had the ball in the back of the net again within a couple of minutes, but fortunately Josh Magennis’s header was ruled offside. Gramoz Kurtaj struck the side netting from ten yards, Ali Crawford sent a 22 yard strike over the cross bar before Kilmarnock made it four, after Magennis struck at the back post from a Greg Kiltie cut back.
Accies gaffer Martin Canning said “I was disappointed in our use of the ball, it was the most important issue for me today. We pride ourselves as a team that can go and pass the ball and we didn’t do that often enough and gifted them back the ball too often. I know the ball was out for the first goal and obviously in these games that is so important.
“I’ve seen it back and it’s nearly a yard out which again is really frustrating. It’s such a tight game with very little in it and both teams fighting for the first goal, so when you concede, it’s disappointing to do so in a manner that shouldn’t stand. But I thought overall we didn’t win enough second balls and win enough battles individually overall and that’s disappointing as well.”
Hamilton keeper Michael McGovern said of his side’s performance immediately after the match “It was a really poor performance from us, one of the worst since I’ve been here if I’m honest. We were disappointed in the dressing room but we’ve now got to dust ourselves down and go again next week.”
“We didn’t start the game well and they started much better than us, which is not like us at all as we generally start matches very well. I thought we were a bit nervy after the start of the game and I thought we had weathered the storm after that early save. But then we give away a goal and the first goal at this level is absolutely crucial.”
When asked if the Accies players should have played to the whistle immediately prior to the first goal, Michael replied, “Yes of course, but when the mistake is that clearly obvious, sometimes it’s easy to say that. It was 100 per cent out, it was a mistake. The first goal in this game is crucial but after that we had to do better much better.”
Accies: McGovern, Gordon, Kurakins, Devlin, Gillespie, Imrie, Crawford, Morris, Docherty (Kurtaj 45), MacKinnon (Redmond 61), Tagliapietra. Subs Unused: Martin, Canning, D’Acol, Brophy, Boyd.
Cautions: MacKinnon, Imrie, Tagliapietra, Morris, Gordon, Kurakins.
Killie: Brennan, Addison, McKenzie, Boyd, O’Hara, Slater, Kiltie, Balatoni, Hodson, Magennis (Obedayi 81), Dicker. Subs Unused: MacKay, Findlay, Henshall, Higginbotham, Faubert, Frizzell.
Goals: Kiltie 10, 31, Boyd 57pen, Magennis 77.
Referee: Craig Thomson Assistants: Kylie McMullan & Mark McLean 4th Official: David Lowe.