Scottish Premiership
Kilmarnock2Livingston1

Kilmarnock 2-1 Livingston: Hosts hold off late fight back

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Highlights: Kilmarnock 2-1 Livingston

Kilmarnock moved to within two points of third place in the Scottish Premiership after holding off a late Livingston fight back at Rugby Park.

Angelo Alessio's side continued their fine recent form, losing just one of their last seven league games.

Gary Dicker and Rory McKenzie scored for the home side, and, at the other end, they looked like they would make it six clean sheets in seven games.

But after Marvin Bartley hit the bar Lee Miller pulled one back for Livi.

Despite their improved performance late on, Gary Holt's side struggled to get anywhere near the level of performance that had felled champions Celtic two weeks ago, but remain safely ensconced in mid-table.

Kilmarnock win battle of attrition

With Livingston starting the day just ahead of their hosts on goal difference, this was always likely to be a battle of attrition.

Indeed, in the opening 30 minutes, the midfield area was packed to capacity with little room for creativity for either team as they continued to cancel one another out.

That, in turn, ensured that if we were to get a breakthrough, then set pieces would prove to be pivotal and just before the break that was certainly the case.

Chris Burke floated a free-kick into the Livingston box and, despite having no fewer than eight outfield players defending their goal, the visitors failed to clear and Dicker had time to pick his spot with a right-footed volley across goal.

After the break, however, the game began to open up with gaps beginning to appear, and the home side doubled their advantage after capitalising when the Livingston defence were caught napping.

Eamonn Brophy was allowed time and space to get a shot on goal from 12 yards and, although the effort was blocked, the ball eventually fell at the feet of McKenzie, who knocked it into the net.

After that, Livingston improved. Bartley had a long-range effort well saved by Laurentiu Branescu, and from the corner, the midfielder had a header that came back off the crossbar.

Nicky Devlin then fired in a cross that hit substitute Miller on the shin and diverted the ball beyond Branescu into the net, but it was no more than a late consolation.

Kilmarnock's defensive record

Man of the match - Gary Dicker

Dicker's strength and passion in the heart of the Kilmarnock midfield gives everyone at Rugby Park a lift and his importance in the team cannot be underestimated.

But brute strength is not his only attribute. His finish for Kilmarnock's opening goal was one that any striker would have been proud of, picking his spot in the far corner well.

Attitude 'not acceptable' - reaction

Kilmarnock manager Angelo Alessio: "We need to improve in our attack. I think the second half we were much better, but in the end we deserved to win the game.

"I think we are building our season. It's early, this result is good for our confidence, but we'll take things step by step, game by game."

Livingston head coach Gary Holt: "I feel for my goalkeeper. He's had nothing to do for 90% of the game and he's picked the ball out of his net twice from two cheap goals, and it's not acceptable.

"But I questioned them to look at themselves individually and ask if they did enough today. We looked like we were waiting for someone else to take the bull by the horns."

Line-ups

Kilmarnock

  • 12Branescu
  • 2O'Donnell
  • 26Del FabroBooked at 80mins
  • 17Findlay
  • 14Hämäläinen
  • 6PowerBooked at 60mins
  • 8Dicker
  • 15El MakriniSubstituted forMillarat 59'minutes
  • 29Burke
  • 9BrophySubstituted forThomasat 84'minutes
  • 7McKenzieSubstituted forBruceat 90+1'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Bruce
  • 5Johnson
  • 11Millar
  • 16Jackson
  • 23Thomas
  • 24Koprivec
  • 25St. Clair

Livingston

  • 30Sarkic
  • 2Devlin
  • 5Lamie
  • 27Guthrie
  • 21McMillan
  • 6BartleyBooked at 76mins
  • 11LawlessSubstituted forLithgowat 59'minutes
  • 16CrawfordSubstituted forSoudaat 66'minutes
  • 7Jacobs
  • 17RobinsonSubstituted forMillerat 59'minutesBooked at 63mins
  • 9Dykes

Substitutes

  • 1Stewart
  • 4Lithgow
  • 10Sibbald
  • 14Odoffin
  • 18Miller
  • 20Souda
  • 33Lawson
Referee:
Steven McLean
Attendance:
4,828

Match Stats

Home TeamKilmarnockAway TeamLivingston
Possession
Home54%
Away46%
Shots
Home12
Away9
Shots on Target
Home3
Away1
Corners
Home2
Away2
Fouls
Home12
Away19

Live Text

Match ends, Kilmarnock 2, Livingston 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Kilmarnock 2, Livingston 1.

Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Lyndon Dykes (Livingston).

Dario Del Fabro (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lyndon Dykes (Livingston).

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Marvin Bartley.

Substitution

Substitution, Kilmarnock. Alex Bruce replaces Rory McKenzie.

Offside, Livingston. Nicky Devlin tries a through ball, but Lyndon Dykes is caught offside.

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

Dario Del Fabro (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lee Miller (Livingston).

Substitution

Substitution, Kilmarnock. Dom Thomas replaces Eamonn Brophy.

Goal!

Own Goal by Dario Del Fabro, Kilmarnock. Kilmarnock 2, Livingston 1.

Attempt missed. Lyndon Dykes (Livingston) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Lee Miller.

Booking

Dario Del Fabro (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Dario Del Fabro (Kilmarnock).

Lee Miller (Livingston) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Chris Burke (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ricki Lamie (Livingston).

Attempt missed. Chris Burke (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Stephen O'Donnell.

Attempt saved. Dario Del Fabro (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Alan Power with a cross.

Booking

Marvin Bartley (Livingston) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Chris Burke (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Marvin Bartley (Livingston).

Attempt blocked. Eamonn Brophy (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

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

Foul by Jon Guthrie (Livingston).

Alan Power (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jon Guthrie (Livingston).

Chris Burke (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Nicky Devlin (Livingston).

Marvin Bartley (Livingston) hits the bar with a header from the left side of the six yard box. Assisted by Alan Lithgow.

Attempt saved. Marvin Bartley (Livingston) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lee Miller with a headed pass.

Foul by Stuart Findlay (Kilmarnock).

Nicky Devlin (Livingston) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Livingston. Aymen Souda replaces Robbie Crawford.

Booking

Lee Miller (Livingston) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Chris Burke (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lee Miller (Livingston).

goal