In­quests and anal­y­sis will fol­low both sides, but for now, it’s all very emo­tional


IT IS prob­a­bly a sign of Kil­marnock’s in­con­sis­tency and form this sea­son that even when you’re cruis­ing to a win over an op­po­nent who hasn’t landed a glove on you all af­ter­noon, the fear of ca­pit­u­la­tion is never far away.

It was a worry that a re­lieved Greg Kiltie con­fessed to yes­ter­day after he even­tu­ally man­aged to pull him­self away from his lap of hon­our. The Rugby Park mid­fielder was a shin­ing light for his team yes­ter­day, in­clud­ing grab­bing two goals as his team ban­ished the threat of rel­e­ga­tion.

The sun may have shone yes­ter­day on Kil­marnock, but the dark grey clouds of the Championship that have been loom­ing took a fair while to shift. Dur­ing a dire sea­son, Kil­marnock only won nine premier­ship games out of a pos­si­ble 38.

In the end, a 4-0 win yes­ter­day was enough to can­cel out Thurs­day’s soli­tary first-leg strike, but even when he grabbed his sec­ond and his team’s third on 62 min­utes, Kiltie ad­mit­ted the doubts were still lin­ger­ing.

“Prob­a­bly when I scored my sec­ond and the team’s third, there was a bit of re­lief as there was a cush­ion. But it’s never over un­til the fi­nal whis­tle, although when Boyd’s went in, I was buzzing,” he said.

“That’s what we need to aim for next sea­son. Put a run of games to­gether. This sea­son’s not been the best, we fin­ished sec­ond bot­tom. But now we’ve stayed in the league, we can fo­cus on next sea­son and aim higher.”

To fo­cus their minds ahead of the match, man­ager Lee Clark took his team for a wee saunter down Troon beach on Satur­day. You can only won­der how many beaches Falkirk’s play­ers will have to stroll down to shake this one out of their sys­tem.

The Championship run­ners-up have rightly re­ceived credit this sea­son, and yes­ter­day’s per­for­mance is cer­tainly not typ­i­cal of the cre­ativ­ity and nev­er­say-die at­ti­tude that has char­ac­terised their sea­son. How­ever, there was lit­tle ev­i­dence of it yes­ter­day in a team that seemed beaten within 10 min­utes.

Cap­tain David McCracken was al­most lost for words as he tried to sum up his emo­tions.

“Where do you start?” asked the cen­tre-half. “We gave our­selves a moun­tain to climb with the open­ing to the game. My head’s not in it at the mo­ment to say what we need to do to im­prove next sea­son.

“I think we have pro­gressed from last year after the Cup fi­nal. We’ve been dif­fer­ent class. From the out­set our aim was to make the play-offs and we bet­tered that by fin­ish­ing sec­ond in the league, then go­ing to the fi­nal.

“Once we got by Hibs, we had a real chance. To also come here with a 1-0 lead was also a great po­si­tion to be in. Maybe that was kind of our down­fall.

“From the word go, it never went our way to­day. We’ll look at that later on.

“We’ve now got to lick our wounds and come back harder at it next year.”

RE­LIEF: Greg Kiltie cel­e­brates his sec­ond

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