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Kilmarnock blow away St Mirren with five-goal second-half show

Kilmarnock scored three goals in an incredible seven-minute spell to complete a
breathtaking 5-2 comeback win over St Mirren at Rugby Park.

More than 2,000 away fans travelled through to Ayrshire and they were singing about playing in the Europa League at half-time as they led 2-0 courtesy of goals from Charles Dunne and Michael Mandron.

The hosts were miles off the pace in the first half but they were unrecognisable after the break as they blew the Saints away to win.

Kyle Vassell got them back into the game on the hour before Danny Armstrong and Marley Watkins completed the comeback with goals in quick succession to leave St Mirren shell-shocked.

The home support were in complete disbelief at Kilmarnock’s barnstorming turnaround and they were sent into dreamland when Vassell scored his second before David Watson added the icing on the cake with a sensational solo effort.

Both sides entered the encounter with realistic European ambitions but the home win moves fourth-placed Kilmarnock two points ahead of their opponents.

In stark contrast to the second-half madness, it was an uneventful opening to the game before Charles Dunne opened the scoring for the visitors in the 20th minute.

Kilmarnock failed to clear Greg Kiltie’s corner and the ball fell invitingly for Dunne to powerfully rifle the ball past Dennis for his first goal in six years.

The hosts struggled to respond but they almost equalised in the 35th minute when Watkins’ looping header from Armstrong’s free-kick was brilliantly tipped over by Zach Hemming.

St Mirren had a strong penalty claim denied in the 38th minute but they were not frustrated for long as they scored from the resulting corner. There was a sense of deja vu as Kiltie’s corner was not dealt with and Mandron bundled home from close range.

KILMARNOCK, SCOTLAND - MARCH 16: St Mirren's Charles Dunne (R) celebrates after scoring to make it 1-0 with teammates Mark O'Hara and Alex Gogic during a cinch Premiership match between Kilmarnock and St Mirren at Rugby Park, on March 16, 2024, in Kilmarnock, Scotland. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Image: St Mirren’s Charles Dunne (right) is congratulated after opening the scoring at Kilmarnock

Derek McInnes’ message to his players during the interval clearly had an impact as Killie threatened on multiple occasions before captain Vassell scored their first on the hour, wriggling clear of two defenders in the box to prod the ball
past Hemming.

Vassell’s goal galvanised Killie and they were back on level terms just four minutes later when referee Ross Hardie awarded them a penalty. Ryan Flynn clumsily barged into Watkins and Armstrong confidently converted.

Killie were rampant and Watkins scored their third goal in a crazy seven-minute spell with a deft header from Armstrong’s cross in the 68th minute.

Vassell doubled the hosts’ advantage five minutes later when he raced onto a long-ball before producing an excellent drilled finish into the bottom corner.

Watson saved the best for last as he embarked on a mazy run before slotting post Hemming in the 79th minute to complete a dream second-half for Kilmarnock.

What’s next?

Kilmarnock return to Scottish Premiership action after the international break at Hearts on March 30, while St Mirren are away to Motherwell.

Both games kick off at 3pm.

Sky News
(c) Sky Sports 2024:Source