Kilmarnock 2-0 Ross County: Match Report
Kilmarnock 2-0 Ross County: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game as it happened.
Protests mar Killie win
Goals from Kris Boyd and Jackson Irvine gave Kilmarnock boss Allan Johnston his first win since taking over at Rugby Park in the summer.
The 2-0 home victory over Ross County eased the pressure on the former Queen of the South manager but there were yet more protests as the Killie fans continued to heap flak on chairman Michael Johnston.
Boyd prodded the Ayrshire men in front after 17 minutes before Irvine's second with 19 minutes left in the second period ended the club's 12-game run without victory and extended their lead over Hearts at the bottom of the Scottish Premiership to 13 points.
But even that did nothing to halt the growing anger facing the chairman as a red card display organised for the 18th minute and then again on the 69th - with the figures corresponding to the club's year of foundation in 1869 - backed up by chants of "We want Johnston out".
The furious fans have apparently not forgiven Johnston for the sacking of former boss Kenny Shiels among other gripes and their "Support the Team - Change the Regime" campaign is gathering support by the week.
Johnston has tried desperately to appease the club's faithful with offers of seats on the board for their top brass and by announcing new investment by local businessman Billy Bowie.
But the numbers involved in the demonstration verged on the overwhelming and it remains to be seen how long he can withstand their pressure.
Thankfully for manager Allan Johnston, his players had already ensured the fans were on their feet with Boyd's opener by the time thousands of red cards were thrust in the air.
Just 90 seconds before the protest erupted, Michael Gardyne's attempt to win an aerial challenge in the box saw the ball break to the former Scotland striker. His first attempt was blocked by namesake County defender Scott Boyd, but while he and team-mate Brian McLean failed to show the necessary urgency and clear their lines, the Killie frontman pounced to poke home.
The goalscorer wasted a chance for a second on 26 minutes when he volleyed over Mark Brown's crossbar as another ball into Staggies territory left the visitors in disarray.
County had already seen Ivan Sproule limp off injured after 25 minutes to be replaced by Darren Maatsen when Killie were themselves rocked by a nasty-looking knock to Rabiu Ibrahim, with County's Dutch substitute involved. The pair tangled on the far touchline and the end result did not look promising for the Nigeria youth international as Ibrahim left the field on a stretcher.
Killie, however, were not disturbed by the change and came close to a second as Darren Barr's back-post header from Barry Nicholson's inswinging free-kick caused McLean more problems. The defender was forced to hack away from underneath his own bar after he almost put through his own net with a dodgy first touch.
Boyd passed up another gilt-edged opportunity three minutes into the second period when Irvine fed Gardyne in midfield, before the on-loan Dundee United man produced a perfect through-ball which Boyd could only redirect onto the bar from 15 yards out.
County's best chance of the match came with 26 minutes left when Killie goalkeeper Craig Samson's slip from Maatsen's cross presented defender Mihael Kovacevic with a clear strike but the Rugby Park number one redeemed himself with an instinctive block.
Winning positions have been rare occurrences for the home side this season but just as the second red card display faded away a second goal had the fans cheering once more.
Scott Boyd was punished with a yellow card for a trip on Gardyne on the corner of the box and from the free-kick, Nicholson rolled the ball square for Irvine to curl home a beautiful strike.
Kilmarnock's Boyd had the ball in the net again two minutes from time but his effort was ruled off by an offside flag as Killie were forced to settle for a two-goal triumph.
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