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