Match ends, Hamilton Academical 1, Kilmarnock 2.
Hamilton Academical 1-2 Kilmarnock
Kilmarnock beat Hamilton Academical in the final Scottish Premiership match before the league's split to move to within four points of fourth place.
Darian MacKinnon fired against the Killie crossbar and Accies' Rakish Bingham and Lewis Ferguson were denied by keeper Leo Fasan in the first half.
Kirk Broadfoot headed home from close range to put Kilmarnock ahead but David Templeton's free-kick levelled matters.
Kris Boyd tapped in Aaron Simpson's delivery and this time Killie held on.
Steve Clarke's side, who win for a sixth successive league game and extend their unbeaten run in the division to 11, move closer to Hibernian going into the final five rounds of fixtures against their fellow top-six sides.
Hamilton, in ninth, remain four points clear of the league's bottom two and ahead of Dundee on goal difference.
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This had the feel of a battle in the early stages, with both sides determined to exercise their right to dominate the play.
Boyd fired an early effort well wide and very little happened until the end of the half, when Hamilton sprung into life.
On a counter attack Ali Crawford played the ball to MacKinnon, who fired a piledriver of a shot from 20 yards toward goal which clipped the top of the crossbar.
Moments later Bingham fired in another shot which Fasan, who had replaced the injured Jamie MacDonald in the starting line-up, did well to tip over.
And Accies would finish the half with all the momentum as Fasan again had to save well, this time Ferguson with an effort denied.
It was a somewhat surprising end to a half that Kilmarnock had dominated in terms of possession. The problem for Clarke's side was they had created nothing significant in terms of chances.
They would start the second half with renewed purpose. Jordan Jones ghosted into the box but his shot flew high over the bar.
And then the breakthrough. A free-kick from Gary Dicker into the box and there was Broadfoot, who guided a header into the corner of the net. The massed ranks of Kilmarnock fans behind the goal erupted in delight.
But Hamilton would hit back soon after. Crawford was felled on the edge of the box by Dicker. Up stepped Templeton, who had just come off the bench, and the former Rangers forward curled into the net.
However, Kilmarnock were far from finished. A flowing move saw Simpson cut the ball back for top scorer Boyd, who finished in customary fashion.
In the end the win could have been even more emphatic as Gary Woods saved well from Eamonn Brophy.
Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke: "Delighted. It's a difficult place to come, a Hamilton side fighting for their lives, probably need two wins just to be safe in the league. We knew coming here would be difficult. For us to take three points is really pleasing.
"We had almost complete control apart from that last five minutes in the first half when we switched off. I thought the reaction from the game going 1-1 was excellent.
"You look at the support here today, it's not very often a provincial club will come here and fill up the little stand on the far side as well. To see all those supporters coming out tells you we are doing something right.
"I think the next incentive is we have a nine point gap to Hearts. After the split as quickly as we can we make that nine points insurmountable for Hearts that secures fifth. Once we have secured fifth we'll have a look above us."
Hamilton Accies boss Martin Canning: "Kilmarnock are a difficult side to play against. They don't give you opportunity after opportunity. They're on a good run and won games but, first half, I thought we created enough opportunities, we probably should take one of them.
"Second half, a goal from a set-piece which is criminal from our point of view and similar to the game at Rugby Park very little in the game. We get ourselves back into it and then concede a poor goal, Kris Boyd standing by himself in the middle all by himself which you can't do. The guy is the top scorer in the league.
"For us it's disappointing. I've got a load of confidence in the boys. When I look back at the last few games we haven't done a lot wrong and we've taken it nothing from it - that's how tight this league is. We keep our heads up, dust ourselves down and we go again next week."
- 89SarrisBooked at 32minsSubstituted forRojanoat 71'minutes
- 5TomasBooked at 30mins
- 11CrawfordSubstituted forTempletonat 71'minutes
- 15van der WegBooked at 90mins
- 9BinghamSubstituted forOgboeat 82'minutes
- 8DickerBooked at 72mins
- 7McKenzieSubstituted forPowerat 16'minutes
- 10KiltieSubstituted forBrophyat 76'minutes
- 9BoydSubstituted forCameronat 90+2'minutes
- Barry Cook
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Hamilton Academical 1, Kilmarnock 2.
Attempt missed. Lewis Ferguson (Hamilton Academical) header from the left side of the six yard box is just a bit too high following a corner.
Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Gary Dicker.
Substitution, Kilmarnock. Innes Cameron replaces Kris Boyd.
Kenny van der Weg (Hamilton Academical) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Eamonn Brophy (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Kenny van der Weg (Hamilton Academical).
Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Gary Woods.
Attempt saved. Eamonn Brophy (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Darian MacKinnon (Hamilton Academical).
Alan Power (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Lewis Ferguson (Hamilton Academical).
Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Marios Ogboe replaces Rakish Bingham.
Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Rakish Bingham (Hamilton Academical).
Goal! Hamilton Academical 1, Kilmarnock 2. Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Aaron Simpson.
Attempt blocked. Youssouf Mulumbu (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Substitution, Kilmarnock. Eamonn Brophy replaces Greg Kiltie.
Foul by Greg Kiltie (Kilmarnock).
Scott McMann (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Hamilton Academical 1, Kilmarnock 1. David Templeton (Hamilton Academical) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.
Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock).
Lewis Ferguson (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Antonio Rojano replaces Georgios Sarris.
Substitution, Hamilton Academical. David Templeton replaces Ali Crawford.
Foul by Alan Power (Kilmarnock).
Darian MacKinnon (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Georgios Sarris.
Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Shaun Want.
Goal! Hamilton Academical 0, Kilmarnock 1. Kirk Broadfoot (Kilmarnock) header from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Gary Dicker following a set piece situation.
Jordan Jones (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Shaun Want (Hamilton Academical).
Foul by Alan Power (Kilmarnock).
Lewis Ferguson (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock).
Ali Crawford (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Jordan Jones (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.