Kilmarnock’s preparations for their Scottish Premiership play-off final against Falkirk suffered a setback following a 4-2 home defeat to relegated Dundee United in the final round of Premiership games.
Mark Durnan headed United into a 12th-minute lead with only his second goal of the season – his other also coming against Killie in January – but the much-changed home side turned the game around with two strikes inside seven minutes. Craig Slater’s shot was too powerful for the goalkeeper, Luis Zwick, to handle and Kallum Higginbotham slotted in the rebound - his third goal in four games - in the 27th minute. Tope Obadeyi then beat the onrushing Zwick to register his first goal of 2016 to put the hosts 2-1 in front.
Simon Murray equalised in the 74th minute with a solo effort that found the bottom corner and made it 3-2 eight minutes later. Harry Souttar rounded off the scoring in the 86th minute, three minutes after coming off the bench, with his first senior goal.
The Kilmarnock manager, Lee Clark, said his focus was on the Falkirk games. “It’s obviously disappointing but the bigger picture was always Thursday,” he said. “That’s why we left so many players out and that’s why I had to make the decisions at 2-1 to take the two senior lads out.”
Clark was advised of the danger of suspension with Conrad Balatoni and Lee Hodson carrying bookings when the director Michael Johnston visited the dugout in the second half. “You want to win every game but Thursday and Sunday are too big for us to take any risks. I hate losing the game but I would have felt worse if Balatoni or Hodson had got another yellow card. The team will be completely different in terms of personnel, and with the freshness they will have, because one thing we will need about us on Thursday and Sunday is freshness.”
Inverness scored four second-half goals as they beat Dundee 4-0 to seal seventh place ahead of the Dens side in the Premiership. Miles Storey opened the scoring 16 minutes into the second half when he broke the visitors’ offside trap to round Scott Bain and slot the ball home. The game was settled with two goals in two minutes. On 69 minutes, Iain Vigurs floated a corner to Danny Devine to poke the ball in at the back post. Nick Ross was caught in possession at the edge of the area by Ross Draper, who drove at the Dundee goal before slotting past Bain. Richie Foran completed the scoring with a late penalty.
Partick and Hamilton ended their seasons with a 2-2 draw, with all the goals coming in the first 20 minutes of an entertaining contest at Firhill.
Thistle’s opening goal came in the third minute after Accies keeper Alan Martin made a fine save down at his left-hand post from David Amoo. The visitors failed to clear the resultant James Penrice corner and Kris Doolan was well placed at the back post to head in his 14th goal of the season. Accies drew level when the Thistle keeper Ryan Scully was adjudged by referee Alan Muir to have fouled Danny Redmond. Eamon Brophy showed composure to score the penalty. Thistle restored their lead when Penrice’s corner was cleared and returned into the box by the defender Freddie Frans, where it was knocked on for Amoo to head in from a yard out. Accies levelled again a minute later when the 20-year-old Brophy latched on to a Greg Docherty through-ball, rounded Scully and stroked in the ball from three yards.
Joey Barton, who helped put Burnley back in the Premier League, visited Rangers’ training ground on Saturday with a view to the 33-year-old midfielder joining the promoted side on a free transfer.
The Lowland League champions Edinburgh City defeated League Two’s bottom side East Stirlingshire 1-0 (2-1 on aggregate) to take their place. It marked the end of East Stirling’s 61-year stay in the senior leagues.
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