Kilmarnock 2 - 0 Livingston: Killie go top of the Ladbrokes Premiership

Kilmarnock's Greg Stewart wheels away after making it 1-0. Picture: SNS
Kilmarnock's Greg Stewart wheels away after making it 1-0. Picture: SNS
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Kilmarnock climbed to the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership after a Greg Stewart first-half double saw off Livingston.

Steve Clarke’s impressive side cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win and maintained their fine recent form that has seen them lose just once in their last 11 outings.

That consistent run means they move one point ahead of Glasgow giants Rangers and Celtic, who they face on Saturday at Celtic Park.

The Rugby Park floodlights cut out twice during their weekend win over Hibs but Killie are burning bright under Clarke and Stewart lit up this contest with two clinical finishes.

He got them off to a flying start with the opener after three minutes and added a second after 21 minutes.

Kilmarnock made one change to the side that defeated Hibs 3-0 with Chris Burke coming in for Rory McKenzie.

Livingston welcomed back Dolly Menga following his two-game ban for a headbutt on Celtic’s Ryan Christie, while Steven Lawson also came into the starting line-up with Keaghan Jacobs and Jack Hamilton dropping to the bench following their 2-0 win over Motherwell.

Livingston’s strength on their return to the Ladbrokes Premiership has been their mean defence, having just conceded ten goals in their previous 14 league games keeping eight clean sheets, but it took Kilmarnock just three minutes to break the deadlock.

Burke whipped in a corner and Stewart darted to the near post and glanced home a header from close range.

Kilmarnock threatened a second as Burke fired straight at Liam Kelly from 25 yards and then Greg Taylor tested Livingston’s goalkeeper after he bustled his way into the box.

Killie doubled their lead after 21 minutes as Alan Power played a long ball over the top of Livingston’s defence and Stewart was on to it in a flash.

Lawson tried to hold him up in the box but Stewart twisted and turned to create space and then drilled a low angled drive beyond Kelly.

Kilmarnock were denied a third when Scott Pittman cleared Kirk Broadfoot’s header off the line from a Burke corner and then Eamonn Brophy was snuffed out at the far post.

Livingston had been second best during the first half and manager Gary Holt opted to make a change six minutes before the interval with Craig Sibbald replacing Lawson.

Killie were forced into a change six minutes into the second half when Broadfoot departed the pitch on a stretcher and was replaced by Aaron Tshibola.

The Killie defender inadvertedly collided with his goalkeeper as he shepherded the ball back to Daniel Bachmann. Broadfoot lay motionless on the pitch and Bachmann placed him in the recovery position as Killie’s medics raced on and the defender was conscious as he was wheeled off.

Livingston’s Nicky Cadden tested Buchmann with a snapshot from the edge of the box before Pittman was booked by referee Bobby Madden after hauling down Stewart as the striker broke upfield.