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Kilmarnock vs St Mirren. Scottish Premiership.

The BBSP Stadium, Rugby ParkAttendance8,460.

Kilmarnock 5

  • K Vassell (61st minute, 73rd minute)
  • D Armstrong (65th minute pen)
  • M Watkins (68th minute)
  • D Watson (79th minute)

St Mirren 2

  • C Dunne (20th minute)
  • M Mandron (39th minute)

Kilmarnock 5-2 St Mirren: Killie blow away visitors with five-goal second-half show

Match report as Kilmarnock beat St Mirren 5-2 at Rugby Park; visitors lead 2-0 at half-time thanks to Charles Dunne and Michael Mandron strikes; Two goals from Kyle Vassell, followed by strikes by Danny Armstrong, Marley Watkins and David Watson saw hosts turn the game around after break

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Highlights from the Scottish Premiership match between Kilmarnock and St Mirren.

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.

KILMARNOCK, SCOTLAND - MARCH 16: Kilmarnock's Kyle Vassell celebrates scoring to make it 4-2 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: Kilmarnock's Kyle Vassell celebrates after scoring to make it 4-2 at Rugby Park

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.

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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 the managers said...

Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes: "When the questions were getting asked of my players today, they met that responsibility brilliantly.

"I've got proper men in that changing room and it was a proper grown-up performance.

"We were 2-0 down at home and the fans were getting a bit antsy. It's easy for my staff and I to point out what's going wrong but the players stood up.

"I wasn't surprised that there was an element of a response there and once we got one goal, I felt the second one was coming.

"I was always confident that we had another goal in us but to get five was fantastic. I'm delighted for my front two getting the goals as they led the line well.

"It was such a big game and it felt like a proper game, which is recognition of the season that both clubs are having. We were second-best for the first half-hour and we never met the threat that they posed.

"We didn't do stuff that we worked on through the week and there was loads of stuff wrong with us in that opening half-hour. Sometimes you need half-time to reset and we scored five goals in 18 minutes - it could have been more."

St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson: "It was three goals in about five minutes and the ball must've only been in play for 90 seconds. As a group, we have to learn from that and can we slow the game down?

"We knew that we'd need to defend in the second half but we didn't do that well enough and we had no ownership of the game.

"The momentum kept increasing and we were unable to deal with it. We looked naive today for that spell and that's something that we need to learn from.

"There won't be a hangover from that because it's not something that happens every week. You're not fifth in the table if that's the norm but know that it's not acceptable and it's a wasted opportunity."

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.

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