Kilmarnock 2-0 Inverness CT
Goals from Lee Ashcroft and Kris Boyd secured Kilmarnock's victory over Inverness and their seventh league win of the season.
Ashcroft's glancing header was added to by Boyd's 13th goal of the season, dashing Caley Thistle's comeback hopes.
It was not the result the visitors were looking for as they prepare for the League Cup semi-final against Hearts next weekend.
For Killie it is their fifth win in their last nine matches.
And it allows them to leapfrog St Mirren into eighth place in the Premiership table, while Inverness slip seven points behind third place Motherwell.
Killie target and former player Alexei Eremenko was an interested spectator in director's box and he watched the Ayrshire side come close early on.
Within two minutes Robbie Muirhead fired in a terrific left-foot strike from 35 yards which looked destined for the left-hand corner of the net until Brill stretched to palm away his effort.
Boyd was next to test Brill. After exchanging passes with Rory McKenzie, Boyd turned the ball onto his left foot just inside the penalty area before firing a low shot which was blocked by the Caley Thistle keeper.
But Brill was left helpless just after the 15-minute mark when Ashcroft's glancing header from Sammy Clingan's free kick gave Killie the lead.
The visitors almost equalised within a minute when Graeme Shinnie's 30-yard strike flew inches wide of the target.
Liam Polworth then created another opening for Caley Thistle with a neat run, but his cross was headed wide by Billy McKay.
Boyd and McKenzie combined again as Killie looked to add to their lead, but as the ball took a bobble just as the Scotland striker was about to connect, his effort had more chance of doing damage to the empty seats in the stand than the visitors net.
But Muirhead was much closer when another Clingan free-kick caused more problems for the visitors defence. Ashcroft flicked it on and Muirhead's left footer crashed back off the 'keeper's right hand post.
Within three minutes of the second half getting underway Samson produced an excellent reaction save to prevent Inverness pulling level.
McKay was clean through but his attempted lob was superbly stopped by the Killie 'keeper. At the other end Boyd headed a McKenzie cross wide.
Midway through the second half a clash of heads between Muirhead and Josh Meekings saw both players leave the field for further treatment.
While Muirhead returned to the action, Meekings was replaced by Danny Devine.
Inverness had gone five away matches without conceding a goal prior to their visit to Ayrshire.
In the 74th minute Boyd scored Killie's second goal of the afternoon. Muirhead was the man who set up the chance with a disguised reverse pass into the path of Boyd, who feinted to shoot before blasting past Brill.
It was Boyd's 13th goal of the season and his 180th in Scottish league football.
Boyd should have added to that tally by adding a third for Killie when McKenzie played the ball into his path 10 yards out, but he contrived to sky it wide with his left foot.
Caley Thistle's top scorer McKay also went close with an effort which was cleared off the line by Ashcroft.
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- William Collum
- Shots on Target