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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 March 2007, 16:57 GMT
Kilmarnock 3-2 Inverness CT
Kilmarnock celebrate the second of Paul Di Giacomo's goals
Kilmarnock banged in three first half goals
Kilmarnock warmed up for next weekend's CIS Cup final with an exciting victory over Inverness at Rugby Park.

Markus Paatelainen headed the visitors in front but Paul Di Giacomo was gifted a tap-in to level the game and the striker blazed in a second soon after.

Steven Naismith stretched the Killie lead before half time with a wonderful overhead kick.

Darren Dodds scored with a header but the visitors could not find another goal despite late pressure.

Kilmarnock goalkeeper Alan Combe was left out to recover from a calf strain with Graeme Smith coming in as a replacement.

Defender Grant Murray returned after a leg injury to take over from Ryan O'Leary who started on the bench.

Inverness were without suspended defender Grant Munro and John Rankin and Rory McAllister dropped to the bench.

In came Stuart McCaffrey, Gary McSwegan and Paatelainen.

The visitors took the lead in the 10th minute when Richard Hastings raced down the left flank and delivered a cross for Paatelainen to head high past Smith.

Kilmarnock defender Gordon Greer went close with a hooked shot from 16 yards that crept the wrong side of the post.

But in the 17th minute the Ayrshire side did get back on level terms with a bizarre goal.

Peter Leven's long throw-in escaped a clutch of players at the front post and while keeper Michael Fraser hesitated the ball bounced on to Di Giacomo to bundle in from close range.

Ten minutes later, Killie were in front when Di Giacomo smash a shot in off the crossbar after Fraser had made a good block to keep out a Naismith volley.

Paatelainen squandered a difficult chance on the volley before the home side added to the lead on 40 minutes.

Murray's cut-back was weighed up by Naismith before the striker fired in a wonderful overhead kick from 12 yards which flew past Fraser and into the corner.

Inverness started the second half strongly and a powerful long range strike from McSwegan was tipped over by Smith.

But the visitors clawed a goal back from the resulting corner when a glancing header from Dodds flew into the into via a defender.

Dodds had a great chance to bag his second goal when he won a header from a free kick but, after the ball looped up nicely for him, he skewed a shot horribly wide.

Di Giacomo then spurned the chance of a hat-trick when he pulled a shot wide after Colin Nish had prodded the ball into his path.

Nish then saw his powerful header cleared off the goal-line by Paatelainen.

Soon after, the Finn was denied a second goal when Smith stuck out a foot to keep out the Inverness striker's low strike.

Much to the annoyance of manager Jim Jefferies and their fans, Kilmarnock ended the match defending deep but held on for the points.


Kilmarnock: Smith, Murray (Locke 79), Hay, Frazer Wright, Greer, Fowler, Johnston, Leven (Wales 85), Di Giacomo, Nish, Naismith. Subs Not Used: Harpur, Gibson, O'Leary, Quinn, Koudou.

Booked: Naismith, Johnston.

Goals: Di Giacomo 17, 27, Naismith 40.

Inverness CT: Fraser, Tokely, Hastings, Dods, McCaffrey, Black (Sutherland 76), Wilson (Hart 76), Paatelainen, Duncan, Bayne, McSwegan (McAllister 79). Subs Not Used: Ridgers, Morgan, Rankin, Soane.

Booked: McCaffrey, Tokely, Black.

Goals: Paatelainen 10, Dods 48.

Att: 7,630

Ref: A Freeland



SEE ALSO
Jefferies delighted with reaction
10 Mar 07 |  Kilmarnock
Christie angered by Black caution
10 Mar 07 |  Inverness CT


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