A stunning early strike by Robbie Muirhead was the highlight of an assured Kilmarnock victory over Motherwell at Rugby Park.

The 18-year-old fired into the top left-hand corner from 25 yards to give the hosts a brilliant start.

And Motherwell goalkeeper Dan Twardzik twice denied Josh Magennis excellently as Killie sought to go further ahead.

The visitors' day got worse when Fraser Kerr was dismissed, with Sammy Clingan netting the resulting free-kick.

A first competitive win, then, for Allan Johnston's men on their new artificial surface, something Motherwell boss Stuart McCall will not be able to point to as the only reason for a poor performance.

Despite the sunshine, there was an air of gloom in East Ayrshire as home fans realised they were without Craig Slater and Michael Ngoo due to injury.

However, the latter's replacement quickly made them forget.

Having just sliced a wild effort out for a throw-in, the ball broke to Muirhead from the ensuing set-piece and he unleashed a out-swinging left-foot shot, which seemed to catch Twardzik off guard.

It was an incredible way for the Irvine-born forward to score only his third senior goal.

Motherwell's John Sutton

Motherwell's John Sutton is brought down inside the box but is denied a penalty

Almost immediately, Magennis, who was a live-wire all afternoon, had two glorious chances to extend Killie's lead but Twardzik showed quality to keep them out.

The Czech goalkeeper - whose brother Filip played in Celtic's defeat in Inverness - smothered Magennis's first effort from close range before palming away another right-foot shot by the Northern Irishman two minutes later.

Rory McKenzie was next to test Twardzik, zipping in a low shot that was tipped around a post.

Motherwell gradually imposed themselves and appealed, in vain, to referee Willie Collum when John Sutton went down under a challenge from Manuel Pascali when looking to go through on goal.

Iain Vigurs' 30-yard free-kick soon after the break suggested The Steelmen would make the second-half a more even affair and, though Killie were not looking quite as potent as the opening 45 minutes, the hosts still had an attacking edge that escaped McCall's side.

Henrik Ojamaa did get the chance to dispossess Kilmarnock defender Mark Connolly and bear down on goal, but failed to get his shot away before other defenders tidied up Connolly's mistake.

The next error was Kerr's. His high-footed challenge on Jamie Hamill was deemed worthy of a straight red card by referee Collum.

And, up stepped Clingan to confidently dispatch the set-piece low past Twardzik.

Magennis deserved a goal of his own but was denied that again in injury time, Twardzik beating away his low angled drive.

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (4)

Kilmarnock

  • 01 Samson
  • 02 Barbour
  • 23 Chantler
  • 08 Clingan
  • 06 Connolly
  • 29 Pascali
  • 07 McKenzie
  • 04 Hamill Booked (O'Hara - 81' )
  • 33 Muirhead (Eremenko - 81' )
  • 28 Magennis
  • 16 Obadeyi (Cairney - 87' )

Substitutes

  • 09 Miller
  • 10 Johnston
  • 11 Cairney
  • 13 Brennan
  • 18 Ashcroft
  • 20 Eremenko
  • 26 O'Hara

Motherwell

  • 12 Twardzik
  • 02 Reid
  • 21 Leitch Booked
  • 04 Carswell
  • 20 Kerr Dismissed
  • 06 McManus
  • 11 Vigurs
  • 14 Lasley
  • 24 Ojamaa (Ainsworth - 81' )
  • 09 Sutton
  • 18 Law

Substitutes

  • 07 Ainsworth
  • 08 Lawson
  • 13 Nielsen
  • 15 O'Brien
  • 16 McHugh
  • 26 Thomas
  • 29 Cadden
Ref: William Collum
Att: 4,146

Match Stats

Shots

17 7

On target

11 2

Corners

4 7

Fouls

14 6

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Kilmarnock 2, Motherwell 0.

90:00 +4:59 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Kilmarnock 2, Motherwell 0.

90:00 +4:44

Attempt saved. Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

90:00 +3:35

Attempt missed. Sammy Clingan (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

90:00 +2:43

Attempt saved. Sammy Clingan (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

90:00 +2:18 Booking

Booking Jack Leitch (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.

90:00 +2:11

Foul by Jack Leitch (Motherwell).

90:00 +2:11

Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

87:50

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Chris Chantler.

87:07

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Chris Chantler.

86:27 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Kilmarnock. Paul Cairney replaces Tope Obadeyi.

85:02

Jack Leitch (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

85:02

Foul by Alexei Eremenko (Kilmarnock).

84:08

Attempt missed. Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right.

83:44

Attempt missed. Mark O'Hara (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left.

83:26

Attempt saved. Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

80:52 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Motherwell. Lionel Ainsworth replaces Henrik Ojamaa.

80:33 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Kilmarnock. Alexei Eremenko replaces Robbie Muirhead.

80:19 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Kilmarnock. Mark O'Hara replaces Jamie Hamill.

80:02

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Craig Reid.

79:06

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Chris Chantler.

77:29 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Kilmarnock 2, Motherwell 0. Sammy Clingan (Kilmarnock) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

75:59 Dismissal

Dismissal Fraser Kerr (Motherwell) is shown the red card.

75:45

Foul by Fraser Kerr (Motherwell).

75:45

Jamie Hamill (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

74:09

Jack Leitch (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

74:09

Foul by Jamie Hamill (Kilmarnock).

71:33

Attempt missed. Iain Vigurs (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

67:14

Iain Vigurs (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

67:14

Foul by Jamie Hamill (Kilmarnock).

66:33

Foul by Henrik Ojamaa (Motherwell).

66:33

Jamie Hamill (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

65:22

Attempt missed. Stephen McManus (Motherwell) header from the right side of the six yard box is just a bit too high.

65:02

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Manuel Pascali.

64:35

John Sutton (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

64:35

Foul by Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock).

64:13

Attempt missed. Henrik Ojamaa (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top left corner.

61:41

Foul by Sammy Clingan (Kilmarnock).

61:41

Henrik Ojamaa (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

59:01

Attempt missed. Sammy Clingan (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

58:15

Attempt missed. Chris Chantler (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top left corner.

57:47

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Dan Twardzik.

48:39

Attempt saved. Iain Vigurs (Motherwell) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

48:03 Booking

Booking Jamie Hamill (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card.

48:00

John Sutton (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

47:46

Foul by Jamie Hamill (Kilmarnock).

45:00

Second Half begins Kilmarnock 1, Motherwell 0.

45:00 +0:06 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Kilmarnock 1, Motherwell 0.

44:28

Foul by Jack Leitch (Motherwell).

44:28

Ross Barbour (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

43:01

John Sutton (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

43:01

Foul by Jamie Hamill (Kilmarnock).

39:40

Attempt saved. Henrik Ojamaa (Motherwell) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the centre of the goal.

38:10

Attempt saved. Ross Barbour (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

36:38

Iain Vigurs (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

36:38

Foul by Jamie Hamill (Kilmarnock).

33:50

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Josh Magennis.

33:18

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Chris Chantler.

30:58

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Dan Twardzik.

30:47

Attempt saved. Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

29:35

Craig Reid (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.

29:35

Foul by Jamie Hamill (Kilmarnock).

27:51

Foul by Craig Samson (Kilmarnock).

27:51

(Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

27:03

Attempt missed. Fraser Kerr (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

26:42

Foul by Ross Barbour (Kilmarnock).

26:42

Stuart Carswell (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

25:40

Attempt missed. Robbie Muirhead (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner.

22:18

Foul by Craig Reid (Motherwell).

22:18

Tope Obadeyi (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

18:48

Josh Law (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

18:48

Foul by Sammy Clingan (Kilmarnock).

18:11

Attempt saved. Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner.

13:05

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Fraser Kerr.

12:41

Attempt saved. Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

11:40

Henrik Ojamaa (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

11:40

Foul by Chris Chantler (Kilmarnock).

10:50

Attempt saved. Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

9:52

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Mark Connolly.

8:11 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Kilmarnock 1, Motherwell 0. Robbie Muirhead (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from very close range to the top left corner.

8:11

Attempt saved. Chris Chantler (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner.

7:21

Foul by Craig Reid (Motherwell).

7:21

Sammy Clingan (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

4:37

Stuart Carswell (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

4:37

Foul by Tope Obadeyi (Kilmarnock).

2:32

Attempt missed. Henrik Ojamaa (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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