Kilmarnock 2-0 Livingston: Greg Stewart double puts Ayrshire side top

Kilmarnock 2-0 Livingston: Greg Stewart double puts Ayrshire side top

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Stewart celebrates his third goal in two games, both supplied by Killie team-mate Burke

Kilmarnock moved to the top Scottish Premiership after Greg Stewart’s double earned a comfortable win over Livingston.

Steve Clarke’s side are a point clear of both Rangers and Celtic, both of whom dropped points, and now visit Celtic Park on Saturday.

The Rugby Park side have lost just once in 11, and have not conceded in four.

Livingston spurned several chances as they continued their run of not scoring on the road since October.

Dolly Menga made a menace of himself on occasions after returning from a two-match ban but his attempts were unsuccessful.

The only negative for Kilmarnock was the head injury suffered by Kirk Broadfoot, who was carried off on a stretcher having collided with his goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann and been put into the recovery position.

Stewart happy at his work again

His two goals aside, an indication of Stewart’s confidence at the moment came in the 30th minute.

A raking ball was sent forward by Greg Taylor and, without a second thought, Stewart killed it in the Livingston box amid a gaggle of defenders. He elected to pass, having already scored a brace.

Stewart is 28 and has previously proved himself at Premiership level with Dundee. It didn’t work out at Birmingham or Aberdeen, but this is a striker who is happy at his work again.

The Stirling-born forward is on loan at Rugby Park for the rest of the season from the English Championship side, with his three-year contact expiring in the summer. If Kilmarnock do not try to make his move permanent, there will surely be a long list of interested clubs north of the border.

Stewart’s sixth and seventh goals of the season were markedly different, the first a glancing header and the second a deadly shot to the far corner after waiting for the correct moment.

Kilmarnock had Livingston rattled in the first half, but Menga’s effort – well saved by Bachmann – was all they had to show for it.

Declan Gallagher’s header from an Alan Lithgow long throw in the second half, and Steven Lawless’ effort from distance, nearly brought Livingston back into it, but before long it was back to the Stewart show.

He hassled defenders to set up Burke to curl over, then another of Stewart’s snaking runs drew a piggy-back attempt from Scott Pittman, who was booked for his troubles.

‘Unlikely but deserved leaders’ – analysis

One league defeat in their last 11 matches. Four clean-sheets in a row. Five goals in their last two games. Top of the league by a point. All the statistics point to one thing – Kilmarnock are absolutely flying.

It seemed very unlikely that Clarke’s men would end the night at the summit of the Premiership, needing both Rangers and Celtic to slip up, yet it happened.

Livingston were not particularly bad, and boss Gary Holt’s main encouragement will be the sight of Ryan Hardie on the pitch again. The on-loan Rangers striker came on as a substitute after a long spell out.

Soccer News

via BBC Sport – Football https://ift.tt/OHg7x6

December 5, 2018 at 02:33PM

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