Dis­may on both sides but Boyd’s poignant cel­e­bra­tion serves as re­al­ity check

The Herald - Herald Sport - - SPFL PREMIERSHIP -

THERE was no hid­ing the dis­ap­point­ment on the faces of the man­agers and play­ers in both camps af­ter this thrilling game at Rugby Park ended in dead­lock, with both teams feel­ing they might have snatched the three points.

In­deed, ei­ther side could present a cred­itable case to sup­port their claims. Partick This­tle were cer­tainly the eas­ier on the eye, play­ing some nice pass­ing foot­ball on oc­ca­sion, but the more di­rect style of Kil­marnock had them ahead twice on the day. As it was, four goals were shared and a point apiece was prob­a­bly just about the right out­come. And how­ever down­hearted the play­ers were as they trudged off the park, there was a vis­i­ble re­minder on the day that some things in life are ac­tu­ally far more im­por­tant than foot­ball.

Kris Boyd, who was at the funeral of his younger brother Scott two days prior to the game, pro­vided the most poignant mo­ment as he opened the scor­ing with a trade­mark fin­ish from in­side the area and ded­i­cated the goal to his sib­ling.

His team­mate Rory MacKen­zie paid trib­ute to Boyd: “He’s been so brave. It’s been a tough week for him. We were all at his brother’s funeral on Thurs­day as a team and he’s done re­ally well to come through it and play as well as he has.

“We didn’t get off to a great start, but when you’ve got Boydy in your team you know he’s go­ing to score. We scored against the run of play but then we set­tled into the game af­ter that. It’s no sur­prise that he scored. His fin­ish­ing is that good that you know he’s go­ing to score most weeks.”

This­tle re­sponded as Ste­vie Lawless got them back level be­fore the break with a fine fin­ish.

The lively David Amoo, who had Luke Hen­drie on toast dur­ing the first half, crossed to the near post where Lawless took a touch to put Scott Boyd on his back­side, and then a sec­ond to dink the ball across Jamie MacDon­ald and into the net.

The ma­jor talk­ing point af­ter the game was ref­eree An­drew Dal­las’s re­fusal to award a penalty to the vis­i­tors early in the sec­ond half as Chris Ersk­ine slalomed through four chal­lenges be­fore slip­ping Lawless in on MacDon­ald.

Kil­lie debu­tant Nathan Tyson slid in and looked to have fouled the mid­fielder, but the of­fi­cial was un­moved.

“I thought it was a stonewaller,” Ersk­ine said. “I don’t think you’ll see a more stonewall penalty than that. “I don’t un­der­stand why Ste­vie would go down when the ball is right in front of him to shoot in­side the box. I played the ball through and I can’t see how it wasn’t a penalty, that’s all I can say. “The ref­eree never ex­plained it to me, I don’t know if he said any­thing to Ste­vie or who­ever. It was just pure dis­be­lief that it wasn’t a penalty.” The salt was rubbed in This­tle’s wounds min­utes later as Souley­mane Coulibaly took ad­van­tage of slack mark­ing to plant a won­der­ful header into Ryan Scully’s top cor­ner from a deep Dean Hawk­shaw cross and move the home side ahead again.

Seven min­utes from time though, Liam Lind­say popped up in the box to prod the ball high into the net as Kil­lie failed to clear a Chris Ersk­ine free-kick and earn the vis­i­tors a point that was the very least that they de­served.

Their cap­tain, Ab­dul Os­man, wouldn’t see out the 90 min­utes as he picked up two late book­ings, both for fouls on MacKen­zie, but his side al­most claimed the win deep into in­jury time.

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