Kilmarnock 2 Dunfermline 1 as Kyle Lafferty double clinches win after side pay tribute to fan Colin McCue

A Kyle Lafferty brace rescued Kilmarnock from the jaws of a third straight defeat on an emotional day at Rugby Park.

The Rugby Park side paid tribute to dedicated fan Colin McCue, who sadly passed away after the Ayrshire Derby on Wednesday night, with black armbands and a minute’s silence before the match.

A much-needed victory was the perfect way to give Colin’s son Scott, who was in attendance at the game, for a reason to cheer on his and his dad’s beloved team.

Dunfermline looked to be on course for a spectacular win at Rugby Park, but the Northern Irish striker ensured there was no chance of the Pars heading to Fife with any points.

Steven Lawless broke the deadlock before Lafferty’s close range effort which was followed up by a sublime overhead kick six minutes from time.

The victory was the perfect way to bounce back from disappointing defeats against Arbroath and Ayr United, and it pushed the Ayrshire side to within two points of the Lichties at the top.

And Killie boss Derek McInnes was delighted with his side’s comeback.

He said: “It was total contrast to through the week where we questioned the spirit of the team a wee bit.

“The first half was even poised, two teams playing the same system.

Kilmarnock's Kyle Lafferty (centre) scores to make it 2-1
Kilmarnock’s Kyle Lafferty (centre) scores to make it 2-1

“I was obviously disappointed to lose the goal but the response was everything I’d expect because you’re not always going to get it your own way and it would have been easy for the players to feel sorry for themselves.

“But the belief and attitude to drag themselves back and get in front pleased me no end because that’s what a real spirit is.

“We feel we have generated that. We love working with the players Monday to Friday but real spirit comes from when you are losing games and it can drag you through. We saw that togetherness today from a team who had to contend with 90 minutes through the week.

“I thought the crowd played a part and helped us over the line.”

An early double save from Jakub Stolarczyk ensured Killie were kept off the scoresheet in the third minute.

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Kyle Lafferty took just 12 minutes to get himself in Craig Napier’s book after putting an elbow into the face of Efe Ambrose.

Killie were patient in their build-up and they were almost rewarded in the 20th minute when Lee Hodson broke down the winger before swinging a low cross into Lafferty, but the hitman’s flick towards goal was comfortably saved.

Dunfermline were given the perfect chance to take a shock lead after being awarded a penalty for handball in the 24th minute, but Zach Hemming was the savior as he saved Steven Lawless’ spot-kick.

Pars striker Lewis McCann joined Lafferty in the book for simulation as he tried to buy a second penalty on the half hour mark.

Blair Alston looked sure to score when Fraser Murray squared it to him in the 53rd minute eight yards from goal, but the midfielder fluffed his lines with a spectacular miss.

Just before the hour mark the visitors took the lead when McCann fired a ball across to Lawless who happily fired an effort into the roof of the net.

Killie fired back thanks to that man Lafferty who fired home from close range in the 67th minute after being fed the ball on a plate from Alston who made up for his earlier miss.

Lafferty had a fantastic chance 10 minutes later but he couldn’t get a touch on a ball that was fizzed across the goalmouth.

But he did get his goal in the 84th minute in spectacular fashion with an acrobatic effort that left Stolarczyk helpless.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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