Only a week earlier, Kris Boyd had revelled in a spot of minor revenge against Motherwell after Fir Park supporters had taunted him over a supposed excess of girth. Netting his 200th Premiership goal that day, the former Rangers and Scotland striker rubbed his 33-year-old belly in glee.
The 201st top flight goal of his career was much more rewarding for Kilmarnock as they climbed four points above hosts Ross County and a handsome seven above play-off spot occupants Hamilton Accies.
In defeat, the Dingwall team lurched further into precarious territory, despite a predominance of play and chances. Boyd’s calm finish with five minutes left epitomised the difference between the teams on the day.
It was all down to killer instinct, and the onset of a touch of middle-aged flab has certainly not diminished his goalscoring prowess.
Lee McCulloch, the caretaker manager, grinning as he made a Freudian reference to the striker’s heft, said: “Kris is worth his weight in gold. His movement is fantastic, his finishing fantastic. He’s a credit to the club and all the young players around him look up to him. It is a fantastic win – I’m delighted.”
County were hit by a setback before a ball was even kicked when goalkeeper Scott Fox pulled up with a hamstring injury during the warm-up. Irishman Aaron McCareystepped into the fray with development squad keeper Mark Foden added to the bench. The Dingwall team had already lost defensive duo Andrew Davies and Jay McEveley to injuries.
It proved a lively first 10 minutes but that spell was deceptive, with scrappiness setting in through much of the first half. Alex Schalk was in the thick of the action early on but amid several digs scythed one attempt over the bar from 10 yards.
But County were caught cold, falling behind within a couple of minutes of the second half restart.
Killie won a throw on the right and Boyd’s head-flick caught the home defence napping, with Connor Sammon free but sharp with his left-foot finish low into keeper McCarey’s right-hand corner.
County were back level after 58 minutes. Amid more home pressure, Killie scrambled to clear from inside the area, but Craig Curran was sharp enough to lay the ball back to Liam Boyce who powered a low strike into the corner.
But the Staggies’ efforts were undone again by the wily old finisher Boyd. The record-breaking Rugby Park goalscorer latched on to a Sean Longstaff ball which defender Paul Quinn couldn’t deal with.
The opening was meat and drink for Boyd who steadied in the middle of the box and thumped a simple right-foot finish into the bottom corner of the net.
Home manager Jim McIntyre said: “We need to take a look at ourselves. I was pleased with 90 per cent of what we did, but again we shot ourselves in the foot.”