Scottish Premiership
KilmarnockKilmarnock1St JohnstoneSt Johnstone2

Kilmarnock 1-2 St Johnstone

By Kenny CrawfordBBC Sport Scotland at Rugby Park

Michael O'Halloran marked his return to St Johnstone with a stunning strike to see off Kilmarnock.

David Wotherspoon edged Saints ahead with a brilliant goal, cutting in from the right and curling a delightful effort into the top corner.

The hosts levelled after the break when Kris Boyd netted with a powerful free-kick from 25 yards.

But O'Halloran, who this week returned to Saints on loan from Rangers, won it with an excellent solo run and finish.

Manager reaction - McCulloch & Wright

St Johnstone had started the better of the sides and it was a wonderful Wotherspoon goal that gave them the lead.

Wotherspoon has been close to being an ever-present over the last four years since returning to his home-town club after a stint in the capital with Hibernian.

But if Saints fans had any complaints from his performances last season it would be his lack of goals from midfield. The 27-year-old only hit the back of the net twice after scoring nine the previous campaign.

Michael O'Halloran scores
O'Halloran secured three points for St Johnstone with a late strike

The former Scotland under-21 international, however, maintained his fine pre-season form by netting at Rugby Park.

Benefitting from a nice pass from Graham Cummins, Wotherspoon snaked into the box and evaded defender Kirk Broadfoot before sending a left-footed shot into the top-right corner.

Apart from St Johnstone's goal and a Murray Davidson effort from just inside the Killie half that came back off the bar, the first half lacked significant goal-mouth activity.

Kilmarnock struggled to create anything noteworthy. Former Motherwell midfielder Dom Thomas showed good pace and trickery down the right-hand-side at times and Chris Burke was a threat in patches.

The hosts' central defensive partnership was 32-year-old Broadfoot and 36-year-old Gordon Greer, making his second Killie debut after first turning out for the Ayrshire club in 2003. They will gain a better understanding as time goes on.

Iain Wilson was deployed at right-back with Stephen O'Donnell dropping to the bench, while another youth product Adam Frizzell looked assured in a defensive midfield position.

Kris Boyd makes it 1-1
Kris Boyd drew Kilmarnock level with an excellent second-half free-kick

Despite the summer additions, it was 33-year-old Killie legend Boyd who produced the goods to brighten up the home side's league curtain-raiser.

St Johnstone new boy Stefan Scougall had brought down Jordan Jones 25 yards out and from the resulting free-kick Boyd rifled in a rising effort that Allan Mannus could barely get a finger on.

Killie and Boyd might even have had another when Erwin - whose introduction swayed the game into the hosts' favour for a spell - played in his fellow striker and watched as his blast from a tight angle was touched on to the crossbar by Mannus.

Killie seemed to have the momentum in the closing stages but it turned out to be one of St Johnstone's few summer acquisitions who proved the difference after coming on as a substitute.

Picking the ball up on the left-hand-side outside the box, on-loan Rangers forward O'Halloran went on a horizontal, dribbling run towards the other side of the pitch before darting into the box and sending a low finish into the far corner beyond Jamie MacDonald.

Michael O'Halloran scores
O'Halloran made a huge impact for Saints after coming off the bench

Line-ups

Kilmarnock

  • 1MacDonald
  • 20Wilson
  • 4Greer
  • 5Broadfoot
  • 12Taylor
  • 15ThomasSubstituted forPowerat 86'minutes
  • 29BurkeSubstituted forErwinat 56'minutes
  • 21FrizzellBooked at 44mins
  • 11Jones
  • 7McKenzie
  • 9Boyd

Substitutes

  • 2O'Donnell
  • 6Power
  • 18Waters
  • 19Samizadeh
  • 22Erwin
  • 26Bell
  • 30Graham

St Johnstone

  • 1Mannus
  • 19FosterBooked at 66mins
  • 5Shaughnessy
  • 6Anderson
  • 24Easton
  • 4Alston
  • 8DavidsonBooked at 41mins
  • 18Paton
  • 10WotherspoonBooked at 40minsSubstituted forCraigat 85'minutes
  • 21ScougallBooked at 58minsSubstituted forO'Halloranat 62'minutes
  • 29CumminsSubstituted forKaneat 72'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Tanser
  • 11O'Halloran
  • 12Clark
  • 20McClean
  • 25Kane
  • 26Craig
  • 28Gilchrist
Referee:
Steven McLean
Attendance:
3,935

Match Stats

Home TeamKilmarnockAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home51%
Away49%
Shots
Home12
Away8
Shots on Target
Home4
Away2
Corners
Home1
Away10
Fouls
Home12
Away16

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Kilmarnock 1, St. Johnstone 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Kilmarnock 1, St. Johnstone 2.

  3. Goal!

    Goal! Kilmarnock 1, St. Johnstone 2. Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Brian Easton.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone).

  5. Post update

    Lee Erwin (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Post update

    Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Lee Erwin (Kilmarnock).

  8. Substitution

    Substitution, Kilmarnock. Alan Power replaces Dom Thomas.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Johnstone. Liam Craig replaces David Wotherspoon.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Blair Alston (St. Johnstone).

  11. Post update

    Greg Taylor (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

  13. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Iain Wilson.

  14. Post update

    Paul Paton (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock).

  16. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Rory McKenzie.

  17. Post update

    Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Iain Wilson (Kilmarnock).

  19. Post update

    Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Lee Erwin (Kilmarnock).

Top Stories

Explore the BBC