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Sunday, 21 May, 2000, 19:33 GMT 20:33 UK
Killie triumph in five-goal thriller

Kilmarnock ended a poor season on a winning note
Kilmarnock 3-2 St Johnstone

Premier League strugglers Kilmarnock ended the season on a high note after a nightmare year.

The Ayrshire side bounced back from last week's 5-1 drubbing by Aberdeen despite a late Saints comeback.

Both teams will be keen to put this season behind them after failing to reach the dizzy heights they attained the previous season.

And Killie may even be heading for another European campaign via the Fair Play league.

Early opportunity

The essentially meaningless match served up a good deal of incidents.

Kiegan Parker had an early opportunity for St Johnstone when his effort forced 'keeper Colin Meldrum into a good save after only two minutes.

The home side fought back and veteran Ian Durrant made no mistake after 10 minutes when he met Christophe Cocard's cross to blast home the opener from 18 yards.

Alan Mahood should have doubled Killie's advantage on the quarter-hour mark when his close-range shot forced Stephen Robertson into a superb one-handed save before the danger was cleared by the Saints defence.

Killie suffered a setback when stopper Kevin McGowne had to leave the park for 10 minutes for treatment to a nasty head knock and he was eventually replaced by Garry Hay.

Kilmarnock pressure

Undeterred, the home side continued to push forward and Cocard should have added number two from inside the six yard box after half an hour.

Peter Canero was unlucky when his shot scraped the crossbar after a great run.

Mahood saw another great chance wasted when he met Canero's cross and his header looked net-bound until Robertson pulled off another great save.

Surprisingly, it was St Johnstone who had the first chance of the second half but Gerry McMahon's shot was weak and never really troubled Meldrum.

But five minutes after the restart Kilmarnock added to their lead when Andy Smith nipped through the visitors' defence to rifle home.

Gary Holt missed a good opportunity
Gary Holt could have added to the Perth side's misery four minutes later when he took the ball past the 'keeper but he pulled the shot just wide.

After 66 minutes Durrant turned provider when his cross into the box was met by Cocard in front of goal to fire pass a helpless Robertson.

Parker should have pulled one back for Saints after 73 minutes when he found himself with only the keeper to beat but the young striker sent the shot skywards.

However, former Livingston midfielder Marc Millar snatched a goal a couple of minutes later when he smashed the ball into the roof of the net.

And Parker made amends for his miss when he latched onto Millar's pass to knock home past Meldrum four minutes from time, but a third goal was beyond Saints.

Whole season typified

Killie boss Bobby Williamson seemed glad the season was finally over.

He said: "We started off well but the game typified the whole season in that we keep letting teams back into the game.

"Many of those games we should have won but ended up only coming away with one point. I am very disappointed with the goals we conceded today but St Johnstone are probably analysing the goals they gave away.

"Even so there was a lot of good stuff played here and some of the younger lads were impressive, but they will have to prove that they are better than the more experienced players."

The even more disappointed St Johnstone boss, Sandy Clark, said: "We didn't deserve to take anything from the game.

"We desperately wanted to finish the week in fifth place and worked hard all week.

"Results elsewhere allowed that to happen anyway but it just didn't go well at all for us today."


Kilmarnock: Meldrum, Canero, McGowne, Lauchlan, McKinlay, Fowler, Holt, Durrant, Mahood, Cocard, Smith.
Subs: Marshall, Vareille, Hay, Burke, Beesley.

St Johnstone: Robertson, Millar, Dods, O'Halloran, Bollan, O'Neil, Kane, Parker, McMahon, Jones, McAnespie.
Subs: Gow, Conway, McBride, Lauchlan, Crosier.

Referee: Jim McCluskey (Scotland)

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