IT WAS the Kris Boyd show in Paisley yesterday. He took centre stage, then was banished from the stage and, in the process, turned the encounter and turned it again.
Second time around, he did so by being returned to the dressing room in disgrace for swinging out at Jim Goodwin, a matter of ten minutes after he had swung his foot with aplomb to put Kilmarnock into a 49th minute lead. In one almighty slow burner – that is, the first half was rotten – Boyd’s activities were the blue touch paper.
The confrontation thereafter crackled, with the altered body language of the St Mirren players betraying their belief that Boyd had blown it for the visitors. And, after Gary Harkins snared an equaliser, they had a series of chances to take three points when even one point had appeared a stretch.
It was a pained Allan Johnston who had to accept the pivotal nature of the flouncy punch delivered by Boyd to the back of Jim Goodwin’s head, the incident following the pair falling to the ground after a challenge for a high ball. “We were in control of the game and there only looked like being one result before the sending-off,” said the Kilmarnock manager.
“Goodwin had been going through the back of the strikers a few times and Boydy reacted, but it is not like him. Everyone makes mistakes but it is disappointing when it costs points. He apologised to all the boys. It was just a stupid reaction and you can’t afford to do stupid things like that. I haven’t thought about fining him. I am sure we will sort something out. He realises he was totally in the wrong and I am sure he will learn and not make the same mistake again.”
There was some suggestion that it may have been Goodwin leading with an elbow that sent Boyd berserk, and to the St Mirren captain’s credit, he admitted he caught him innocently. Sympathy was in short supply from Goodwin over the red card that referee Callum Murray showed the former Scotland striker, but empathy was not, with the Irishman acknowledging he is hardly the most placid himself.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the scrap with Boydy all day. It was very physical, as you can imagine, but I brushed him with my elbow accidentally as we challenged in the air and he has reacted badly but he knew instantly that he shouldn’t have done what he did.
“I‘ve been there – I’ve done stupid things in the heat of the moment and I know how he feels right now. I’m sure he regrets it. He knows he’s done wrong but it’s none of my business really.
“The game got easier for us when he went off and we should have gone on to win. We created some really good chances and when they went to ten men we dominated possession and created chance after chance.
“We are disappointed with the draw, especially when they went down to ten men. We really should have punished them for that but they hung on for the draw and I’m sure they will be much happier with a point than we are.”
The tied scoreline leaves both teams searching for a first victory of this Scottish Premiership season but, in reality, neither side would have been entirely dismayed at emerging with something after an opening period that was stodgy beyond an early St Mirren flurry. Most notable in that passage was Gary Teale whipping in a cross from the right that was the dream delivery for Steven Thompson except for the fact that his header allowed his team-mate from last season to clutch the ball low to his left.
Samson was strong in the beginning and end, with two more close-range blocks from Thompson, but in between St Mirren debutant keeper David Cornell had slightly more to bother about. Not that he had any chance with the Boyd goal that followed a slickly-worked move started by Rabiu Ibrahim, who released another new start, Sean Clohessy, to drill in a cross despatched in trademark fashion with one touch by Boyd.
Kilmarnock then might have doubled their lead but for Paul Heffernan heading weakly towards goal, only for Boyd’s loss of reason – which extended to giving fourth official Bobby Madden a mouthful as he headed down the tunnel – to re-energise a faltering home team.
A corner from yet one more of the new home players, Danny Grainger, found its way to Harkins and stumbling, with his back to goal, he managed to drag the ball round and fire it into the corner. Johnston admitted his team were then left “hanging on”. The fact they did, though, could spare Boyd hanging his head as it seemed might be required of him after Harkins struck.