Partick 1-4 Kilmarnock- Match Report

Kilmarnock safe after easy winKilmarnock secured their Scottish Premiership status with a convincing 4-1 win over Partick Thistle at a blustery Firhill.Midfielder Jamie Hamill put the visitors ahead in the 24th minute after Jags keeper Scott Fox had saved his penalty before striker Tope Obadeyi doubled that lead with a near-post header.The Englishman added a third in the 63rd minute and while Maryhill skipper Conrad Balatoni reduced the deficit, Rugby Park striker Josh Magennis added a fourth.With Motherwell losing 2-1 at already-relegated St Mirren it means the Steelmen are in the play-off.After seven straight defeats frustrated Killie manager Gary Locke, he tried another route to success which was ultimately rewarded.The former Rugby Park defender made five changes with Mark Connelly, Greg Kiltie, Alexei Eremenko, Craig Slater and Obadeyi coming in to the starting line-up.For Thistle, striker Kris Doolan and midfielder Gary Fraser replaced the injured Ryan Stevenson and James Craigen, who dropped to the bench.The Maryhill men came close twice in the early stages, defender Frederic Frans heading a Kallum Higginbotham corner over the bar before the Jags wide-man flashed a shot inches over with the outside of his right foot.The game changed, however, when referee John Beaton pointed to the spot after Thistle defender Callum Booth barged Greg Kiltie to the ground inside the home penalty area after he latched on to a raking Eremenko pass.Fox parried Hamill's low driven penalty but the midfielder pounced on the rebound to knock it over the line.It should have been the cue for the visitors to relax a little but moments later Hamill was involved in a curious incident when Magennis and him went head-to-head after he had berated the striker for conceding a free-kick, although none of the officials reacted.On the half-hour mark Killie skipper Manuel Pascali's close-range flick from an Eremenko free-kick forced a save from Fox.However, in the 37th minute the Jags keeper was well beaten by Obadeyi's powerful header from an Eremenko corner, his enthusiastic celebration which included discarding his shirt earning him a booking.Stopper Lee Ashcroft replaced Pascali for the start of the second-half with Christie Elliott on for Booth before the home side began the push towards the Killie goal.In the 58th minute Rugby Park stopper Connolly, booked in the first half, for a foul on Firhill striker Lyle Taylor, was lucky to escape further punishment after clattering Jags midfielder Stuart Bannigan.That only added to the frustration of the home fans who were incensed when a free-kick was awarded to Eremenko after a challenge by Christie.The Killie midfielder curled the ball into the box and Obadeyi knocked it into the net from inside a packed six-yard box.Balatoni headed in a Higginbotham corner to give the home side a lifeline but that was cancelled out in the 72nd minute when Magennis ran on to an Eremenko pass before slipping the ball through the legs of Fox.It was all over for Thistle but they kept coming forward with Killie keeper Craig Samson making a decent save from a Bannigan drive and there were other close calls before the final whistle signalled Killie's safety

Source : PA

Source: PA