Toothless Hamilton fell to a fifth straight defeat to Kilmarnock this season as the Ayrshire side kept pace with Arbroath at the top of the Championship.
The hosts were comfortably the better team throughout in the Ayrshire sunshine, while Accies barely landed a meaningful blow, and they’ve tumbled down to eighth in the table as a result.
Goals in each half by Fraser Murray and Blair Alston sent Killie on their way, and they never really looked in danger of conceding throughout the 90 minutes.
Killie dominated the first half and forced some good saves from Ryan Fulton in Hamilton’s goal before taking the lead through Fraser Murray on the stroke of half-time.
Having just witnessed Oli Shaw cannoning a shot off the left post, Killie tried again and played it out wide to Chris Burke, and his cross was bundled over the line by the chest of Murray.
Hamilton had created a few flurries of their own, but of the narrowly failing to connect to crosses persuasion, rather than forcing Zach Hemming into anything approaching a save.
They did show a bit of menace though, with Kai Kennedy’s cross just too far ahead of David Moyo and Andy Ryan, and on another occasion Moyo’s cross evaded Ryan when a touch might have done.
The second half was much the same, with Killie attacking from the start and scoring a second through Alston 10 minutes in.
Kilmarnock boss Derek McInnes made six changes to the side that lost to Raith Rovers in the Challenge Cup semi-final. Goalkeeper Zach Hemmings replaced Sam Walker, while Lee Hodson, Jack Sanders, Stephen McGinn, Burke and Rory McKenzie came in for Jason Naismith, Chris Stokes, Declan Glass, Daniel MacKay and Danny Armstrong.
Hamilton head coach Stuart Taylor made one change to the side that he drew with Inverness last Friday night, with Andy Ryan replacing Marley Redfern, and taking the captain’s armband.
Hamilton created the first chance inside the opening minute when David Moyo found space on the right and played in Josh Mullin, but his shot was well blocked.
But Killie came right at their visitors and nearly scored themselves in four minutes when a cross was knocked down by Oli Shaw to Rory McKenzie, but he drove the ball wide of target.
Mihai Popescu got dithering on the left wing moments later by Shaw, who set up McKenzie, but his low, angled shot was comfortably taken by Ryan Fulton.
But Accies should have broken the deadlock in eight minutes when Kai Kennedy tore down the left and fired in an angled cross that was just missed at the back post by Moyo and Ryan, sliding in.
The game became a bit scrappy after that, but McKenzie still had a go from distance, though his rising shot from around 22 yards in 18 minutes was never a threat.
Killlie nearly took the lead in 27 minutes when Shaw played the ball inside the box to Calum Waters, and his angled shot was well parried by Fulton, with the follow-up eventually cleared.
Accies got the break of a ball in 36 minutes and that presented Moyo with space down the left but again Ryan failed to connect with the cross.
Fraser Murray was next to have a go for Killie in 37 minutes, but felt his powerful effort wide of the left post, before Waters had a drive well taken by Fulton in their next attack.
Shaw hit the left post with a shot in 44 minutes but Killie continued to attack and Burke’s cross was bundled in by Murray.
Killie started the second half in much the same vein, with Waters’ free kick headed just over by Fraser Murray, via a deflection.
Shaw forced a couple of good blocking saves by Fulton as the hosts tried to turn the screw.
That pressure told in 56 minutes when Killie eventually bagged their second goal.
McKenzie let fly with a shot that was blocked by Fulton, and he saved Shaw’s follow-up header, but the striker squared the rebound to Alston to ram the ball into the net.
Josh Mullin’s free kick was headed past the left post by Dan O’Reilly in 66 minutes, but Hemming was content to watch it float wide.
Mullin managed a shot on target in 72 minutes with a fizzing effort that Hemming did well to hold.
Burke went close to adding a third with a low shot in 75 minutes, but felt it inches past the left post from the right corner of the box.
KILMARNOCK: Hemming, Hodson, Sanders, E. Murray, Waters, McGinn (Campbell, 90+3), Alston (Tait, 87), F. Murray, Burke (Armstrong, 78), McKenzie, Shaw (Burrell, 90+3 ).
Subs (not used): Walker (GK), Naismith, McGowan, Glass, Lafferty.
HAMILTON: Fulton, Lawson, Popescu, O’Reilly, MacDonald, Mullin (Hughes, 87), Mimnaugh (Martin, 46), Spence (Winter, 78), Moyo, Kennedy (L. Smith, 61), Ryan (Brown, 61).
Subs (not used): J. Smith (GK), Easton, Shiels, Nicolson.
Booked: Mimnaugh (20), Popescu (82), Martin (86)
Referee: David Munro.
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