KILMARNOCK striker Kris Boyd admitted they have allowed themselves to be dragged back into a relegation battle with their 2-0 defeat at St Mirren Park.
St Mirren 2 - 0 Kilmarnock
SCORERS: Newton 78, Wylde 87
Referee: C Allan
Kilmarnock had targeted successive victories over Hibernian and St Mirren to take them away from the Scottish Premiership play-off place and push for the top six.
That would have taken them to within three points of sixth-placed St Johnstone but, instead, a solitary point from the two games has allowed St Mirren to peg them back and they are now among four teams separated by just one point following Ross County’s draw with Partick.
Boyd said: “We got ourselves to the top of a so-called mini league between the four of us and had a chance to push on. I felt if we beat Hibs last week we had a chance to push on against Hibs and St Johnstone but it wasn’t the case. We took nothing again and we find ourselves right back in a battle now. We have a massive game against Hearts next week and we need to take three points. We thought we had got ourselves out of it but football is a cruel game sometimes and we are dragged back into it.”
Kilmarnock were devoid of attacking threat in a poor first half and manager Allan Johnston took off playmaker Alexei Eremenko at half-time after earlier losing Sammy Clingan to a knee injury.
The Ayrshiremen improved substantially in a far more open and entertaining second half but Saints always had a slight edge and took the lead in the 78th minute when substitute Gregg Wylde set up Conor Newton’s first-time finish.
Boyd hit the post two minutes later after being sent through by Craig Slater and Wylde wrapped up the points with his first goal for the club three minutes from time when he intercepted a pass and fired in off the post from 20 yards.
Boyd said: “St Mirren started the game better and finished the game better and they deserved the three points.
“All over the pitch, they were first to every ball and we have let ourselves down, and the club and the fans as well.”
The result ended a five-match losing streak for the hosts and manager Danny Lennon hopes they can now find the consistency they showed after an identical run at the start of the season, when they embarked on a sequence in which they lost once in ten matches. “It doesn’t buy you any breathing space,” he said. “We are all down there for a reason, because none of us have shown that true consistency. We have all been erratic at one stage or another.
“All good runs come to an end and all bad runs come to an end. We certainly put that to bed and now we want to go on another positive run. If we show that level of commitment and performance then we will be fine. We showed consistency in that last good run we had and took points off teams above us and there is no reason why we can’t do that again.”