Kilmarnock 2 - 0 Dundee: Kilmarnock move into the top six

Kilmarnock's Jordan Jones (right) and Dundee's Cammy Kerr battle for possession.  Photograph: Ross Parker/SNS

Kilmarnock's Jordan Jones (right) and Dundee's Cammy Kerr battle for possession. Photograph: Ross Parker/SNS

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Kilmarnock moved up five places to sixth position courtesy of this comprehensive win over opponents who hadn’t previously lost a league game at Rugby Park since 2005.

Since their hosts had enjoyed a solitary success in their previous nine home games, the result seemed pre-ordained. At least, Dundee’s players certainly performed as though that was the case.

Perhaps, having won three of their four previous outings, the Dark Blues expected that simply turning up would be enough to guarantee a positive outcome.

If so, they were soon disabused of that notion and manager Paul Hartley made no excuses for them afterwards.

“We had a couple of chances with point-blank headers we should do better with and Marcus Haber should certainly have done better but, overall, we weren’t at our best so I don’t have any complaints,” he said.

“My players have been excellent over the last five or six weeks but it’s going to be like this because there’s not a lot between seven or eight clubs and there will be times when it doesn’t go for you.”

Dundee had settled into the game more quickly than the hosts but Cammy Kerr was extremely fortunate to remain on the field when he cleaned out winger Jordan Jones on the halfway line, with referee Crawford Allan deeming a yellow card to be sufficient punishment.

By contrast, home full-back Luke Hendrie was unlucky to be cautioned for a foul on Haber when he appeared to have cleanly tackled the striker.

Kilmarnock gradually found a foothold in the contest, however, and Nathan Tyson ought to have at least hit the target with a free header from Rory McKenzie’s cross.

McKenzie then took it upon himself to break the deadlock in the 22nd minute, clipping a shot from 15 yards behind Scott Bain and in off his right-hand post after a deflected drive from Jones had fallen perfectly for him.

Substitute Danny Williams replaced James Vincent just three minutes later and soon forced the first save of the day from Jamie MacDonald with a shot on the turn.

Tyson once again squandered a decent opportunity with his head, sending the ball over after getting on the end of Gary Dicker’s delivery. The striker appeared to catch Darren O’Dea on the face but, like so much yesterday, the incident was missed by Mr Allan.

Dundee toiled to get out of their own half at times and they were grateful to see Tyson’s drive from William Boyle’s pass shave the top of Bain’s crossbar.

Even so, Haber ought to have equalised in the 50th minute when, from point-blank range, he sent a header from Kevin Holt’s cross back across the face of the goal rather than into it.

His profligacy proved to be costly when the home side finally made their superior possession pay off.

Bain had already denied Steven Smith with a diving save but, when the captain surged down the left and pulled the ball back for Coulibaly, he was given no chance from six yards.

Dundee were left with no option but to throw men forward but that merely left Bain exposed and it was as well that the goalkeeper (unlike his team-mates) brought his A game as he saved well from Tyson and McKenzie.

Williams should have pulled one back in the dying seconds but MacDonald made sure of the clean sheet by sticking out a foot to divert his header to safety.

Kilmarnock manager Lee Clark, though, argues that the visitors got off lightly.

“No disrespect to Dundee – it could have been an even bigger margin but we’re not getting carried away,” he said.

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