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Kilmarnock clinch Europa League berth with win at St Mirren
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PA Sport staff
Press Association
Kyle Vassell netted the winner for Kilmarnock at St Mirren (Jeff Holmes/PA)
Kyle Vassell netted the winner for Kilmarnock at St Mirren (Jeff Holmes/PA)

Kilmarnock sealed a fourth-placed finish and with it a spot in next season’s Europa League qualifiers following a 1-0 win over St Mirren in Paisley.

Kyle Vassell’s first-half goal proved the difference between the sides and ensured Derek McInnes’ men can no longer be caught by Saints, who remain in fifth.

Toyosi Olusanya struck the crossbar in the second half for the home side, who will need to wait until midweek at the earliest for the chance to confirm their own European berth next term.

Buddies boss Stephen Robinson stuck with the line-up that defeated Dundee the previous weekend.

Kilmarnock made two changes from their 4-1 loss to Rangers. Out went the suspended Joe Wright and Liam Polworth, replaced by Robbie Deas and David Watson.

It was the home side who had the first real chance of the game but Olusanya’s volley sailed high over the crossbar.

Matty Kennedy responded for Kilmarnock but his long-range effort was similarly wayward.

Neither goalkeeper had much to do in the opening exchanges until Will Dennis made a terrific stop to push away Scott Tanser’s overhead kick.

The offside flag went up but the Killie stopper was not aware of that when he plunged to his right to make the save.

Killie then threatened at the other end after an Alex Gogic mistake, with Marley Watkins dragging his shot beyond the far post.

The forward was involved when the visitors moved in front after 37 minutes.

He took a pass from Danny Armstrong and made great strides down the right before picking out Vassell in the middle and he took a touch before finishing well.

St Mirren began the second half intent on finding an equaliser but Caolan Boyd-Munce’s shot from distance never looked like troubling Dennis.

The goalkeeper had to look more alert moments later to clutch a header from team-mate Stuart Findlay before blocking another acrobatic effort from Tanser, with Gogic putting the rebound over from another difficult chance.

Ryan Strain then picked out Olusanya, who volleyed just wide, before another Gogic error sent Watkins in on goal only for Zach Hemming to save well.

The former Kilmarnock goalkeeper was in the thick of things by this point as he tipped away Deas’ header for a corner.

At the other end, Conor McMenamin’s ball sent Olusanya running in on goal and the forward was unfortunate to see his shot strike the top of the crossbar.


Scottish PremiershipKilmarnockSt. Mirren
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