Kilmarnock u20 v Ross County u20

Cameron and first team lads shine in 4-1 victory


Kilmarnock: Devlin McKay, Taylor Queen, Callum McFadzean, Martin Smith , Josh Webb, Sam Lidington , Adam Frizzell (Oliver McDonald 88), Dean Hawkshaw, Innes Cameron, Florent Bojaj , Lewis Morrison (Jack Whittaker 57)
Subs Not Used: Curtis Lyle, Lewis Clark.

Ross County: Mark Foden, Blair Malcolm, Chris McLaughlin, Sam Morrison, David Brownlie, Dylan Dykes, Reghan Tumilty, Russell Dingwall, Greg Morrison, Tom McLennan, Ross MacIver.
Subs: Ross Munro, Davis Keillor-Dunn, James Wallace, Mathew Hall.


 

A strong Kilmarnock team comfortably disposed of high-flyers Ross County at Rugby Park, despite being reduced to ten men in the second half.

Killie were leading 2-1 when Martin Smith was shown a straight red on 76 minutes following a needless push in the build-up to a free-kick. It may have seemed harsh, but in no way should Smith have reacted in the way he did.

The advantage was with the Highlanders and they pressed for an equaliser – but only briefly. The strength and quality of the home side’s line-up shone through and two goals in six minutes put a potential County come-back to bed.

Innes Cameron bagged a brace – his second was superb – while Callum McFadzean’s tap in and Jack Whittaker’s strike helped kill the contest. The only downside of the match for Killie was when Lewis Morrison had to be stretchered off following a fair but strong tackle from the County full-back.

In the end, it was a very impressive Kilmarnock victory, one which they desperately craved, especially when they hadn’t won in the league since the beginning of November against Hibernian.

Adam Frizzell, Dean Hawkshaw and Flo Bojaj all contributed to Killie’s routine victory as their experience of first team football was evident in their play. Frizzell provided a spark in attack while Bojaj and Hawkshaw’s technical and passing abilities kept them on top.

But the star of the encounter was the tall figure of Innes Cameron. The striker opened the scoring after half an hour when, after his first two efforts were saved by keeper Mark Foden, the ball fell to him again before eventually firing home to give his side the lead. He was a menace all game and caused County all sorts of problems. His performance was encapsulated in his second goal. With the ball at his feet, he nutmegged the full-back on the byline, skipped past another before slotting the ball under the keeper’s legs from an acute angle.

While this is only one stand-out display, the big man has a bright future in Ayrshire and could find himself becoming the next Kris Boyd in the coming years. He has all of the raw abilities to succeed in the professional game – strength, pace and an eye for goal.

The Highlanders started this match in second place in the Development League but failed to consolidate that position after a lethargic performance, albeit against a very strong Kilmarnock line-up.

They quickly settled into the match and had a couple of decent chances in the first half but couldn’t take them. However, they found the net just before the interval through Greg Morrison’s excellent looping header.

County momentarily pressed for an equaliser after the restart but Killie began to dominate proceedings and didn’t really get a look in for much of the second period. Killie’s Whittaker put any chance of a come-back out of sight with his well-taken goal after 86 minutes.

10 men? Not a worry for Killie. They continued their good play even after Smith’s dismissal when Cameron and Whittaker helped make the three points safe. However, on another day, it might’ve been five or six for the Ayrshiremen as they dominated here at Rugby Park.

FT: Kilmarnock 4-1 Ross County

Gary Kirkpatrick

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Kilmarnock u20 vs St Johnstone u20

Stalemate at Rugby Park 


Kilmarnock: Mackay; Queen, Webb, Lidington, McFadzean (McDonald 83); M. Smith, Hawkshaw (McLean 46), Paterson, Bojaj; Trialist, Cameron (Morrison 72).

St Johnstone: Mackenzie, Watson, McCann, Comrie, Gordon, Page, Johnson, Jardine, Hunter, Docherty, Simpson.


 

An unnamed trialist scored a superb goal to help Killie earn a point in an uninspiring Development League contest against St Johnstone.

The trialist, who switched between both wings throughout the game, scored with superb technique and accuracy to put Killie ahead after 55 minutes.

Scott McLean whipped in a dangerous cross from a corner towards the trialist waiting at the far post. He controlled the ball and fired an unstoppable volley into top left corner of the net.

While his goal was something to behold, his overall display was nowhere near as mind-blowing. He worked hard and chased loose balls but has to become more involved in games if he is going to earn a contract.

Both Killie and St Johnstone were in fact, relatively average on the night. Neither team expressed a clear urgency to score or a desire to collect the three points on offer. The word ‘lethargic’ springs to mind.

The home side fielded a strong line-up including Martin Smith, Dean Hawkshaw – who was making his comeback from injury – and Flo Bojaj.

However, the first team lads failed to stand out above the rest in an uneventful first half which featured just two shots on target – both from Killie.

The first was a powerful drive from talented midfielder Jack Paterson and the other a tame Martin Smith free-kick which was comfortably held by Saints keeper Ben MacKenzie.

Hawkshaw was substituted at half-time – it was apparent after just 25 minutes of play that he was well under the required fitness level needed to perform in this encounter, even despite the sluggish nature of the match.

The only other highlight of the opening period was when Bojaj got on the end of a loose ball in behind the Saints defence. He took his effort first time but could only find the side-netting.

Lively winger McLean was the man replacing Hawkshaw at the interval and almost immediately, he began to exert an influence on proceedings with his flair and quick movements on the left flank.

Striker Innes Cameron almost fired Killie in front two minutes after the restart when his fierce strike was well stopped by MacKenzie – Bojaj’s flick to set him up was delightful.

Bojaj has talent, there’s no question about that. But he isn’t in Lee Clark’s immediate first team plans, thus the prospect of seeing him in a Killie shirt past January is unlikely.

Then came the first goal after 55 minutes, executed brilliantly by the unnamed trialist and not to mention, courtesy of McLean’s excellent corner delivery.

Holding onto a lead is something the U20 lads have proper difficulty achieving. And it was no different here when St Johnstone struck back moments after the breakthrough goal. Deserved? Probably not. It came out of nowhere. The ball fell to Joseph Johnston inside the box following some slack defending and he finished with ease past keeper Devlin Mackay.

Saints were soon filled with optimism and a willingness to score another. They forced Mackay into making two excellent saves, one hit by Jamie Docherty from close range and the other from striker George Hunter after getting on the end of a loose ball.

With 10 minutes left, the game’s brief intensity began to falter and the team from Perth gradually dropped back, aiming for a draw. The superb keeper Mackay made yet another important stop for Killie – denying Docherty again inside the six yard box – in the final minutes of the match.

That was to be the final moment of significance in a game that saw very few critical opportunities, especially for the away side. As mentioned above, lethargy from both outfits contributed to the game’s lack of edge.

The draw keeps Paul Stephenson’s side in 15th – third bottom – with 14 points. Killie face a trip to Dunfermline next Tuesday evening with a win desperately needed.

Fulltime: Kilmarnock 1-1 St Johnstone

Gary Fitzpatrick