St Mirren 4-2 Kilmarnock: Saints grab long-awaited win in style

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ST MIRREN manager Danny Lennon believes a change in approach was key to his team’s first Clydesdale Bank Premier League victory of 2012.

Lennon’s side battled back from a goal down to defeat Kilmarnock at St Mirren Park on Saturday.

Dieter van Tornhout – Kilmarnock’s matchwinner in the Scottish Communities League Cup final triumph over Celtic – opened the scoring for the visitors after 11 minutes before Steven Thompson beat Cammy Bell for the equaliser 13 minutes later.

Saints midfielder Steven Thomson headed home Dougie Imrie’s cross to give the hosts a 2-1 lead before Nigel Hasselbaink pounced on Mohamadou Sissoko’s mistake five minutes later to make it three.

Thompson grabbed his second of the match when he curled a wonderful effort beyond Bell with seven minutes remaining before Dean Shiels hit a late consolation for Killie.

In netting four goals, St Mirren also ensured they were no longer the lowest scoring side in the SPL.

“We normally like to press the game, but we actually sat off them a little bit and tried to frustrate them,” Lennon said.

“That’s a lot of credit to Kilmarnock and shows that we gave them a lot of respect – we have been in the same position ourselves this season.

“It was really pleasing to score four goals. Big Stevie (Thompson) had taken a bang late in the game, but you would never have known that in the way he executed his shot for the fourth goal.”

Lennon felt the St Mirren squad for the Killie clash was one of the strongest he has been able to name this season.

Imrie made a positive impact after coming on from the bench and Darren McGregor made his return to action following a seven-month lay-off after suffering damage to his knee ligaments when he was brought on for Hasselbaink with 20 minutes left.

“That’s the first time in many, many weeks that I could look at the seven on the bench and could actually pick from the total seven to come on,” Lennon said.

“It was a very healthy bench and it’s a good sign that we are getting players coming back as we come into the last six games of the season.”

Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels claimed his side did not deserve to lose at St Mirren Park.

The Co-Operative Cup winners made a bright start to the match and were unlucky to only go into half-time on level terms.

“I would say we were unfortunate losers,” Shiels said. “If you assess the game, we have done very well in the first half.

“I’m not going to look for excuses. I just want to give an account of how things went against us.

“I don’t want to take anything away from St Mirren – they showed great spirit and worked hard to get their goals.

“The ball was breaking for St Mirren, though in saying that I have watched them a lot since January and things have being going against them a lot. They deserve their good luck and fair play to them.”