We desperately needed three points and we got them thanks to a terrific cameo from Gregg Wylde, who scored one and set one up in the brief period he was on the park. We deserved the win - we created more chances in the first half and arguably edged the second before Wylde decided to take control of things. From second bottom we're now joint eighth, all four teams covered by just a single point. It's going to be a hairy end to the season but if we keep playing like this we might just do it.
As expected, Marc McAusland took over from the banned Jim Goodwin at the back. However, that wasn't the only adjustment to the team that lost in Dingwall last week. Eric Djemba-Djemba was deservedly benched along with Gregg Wylde, meaning Jason Naismith and Paul McGowan came back in. There was no Adam Campbell, which was a pity, but aside from that it looked a decent enough team with almost everyone in the right position. We had to watch out for Kris Boyd and the tricky Chris Johnston, while there were three former Saints in the shape of goalie Craig Samson, defender Jeroen Tesselaar and midfielder Craig Slater - who left us when he was a youngster.
For once we seemed up for it from the off, skipper Steven Thompson making swear word peppered shouts of encouragement. The big striker headed a Kenny McLean free-kick over before Josh Magennis shot over from distance. The two forwards were in the thick of the action - McGowan unable to get a shot away from Thompson's flick before Magennis turned and shot only to see it deflected wide.
Killie were then forced into a change, Jackson Irvine replacing Sammy Clingan after he came off worse in a collision with Sean Kelly. McLean chanced his arm with a free-kick from a silly distance that was actually half decent and didn't appear to miss the target by much. He was then booked for the first bad tackle in McLean, getting former Saint Slater, with McGowan having a shot blocked in between times.
Eremenko had done sod all in the first half so it was a bit of a shame he failed to re-emerge after half-time, Robbie Muirhead replacing him at the break before shooting straight at Marian Kello. Another Thompson header posed no problems for Samson. However, we finally began to trouble him - McGowan's effort was turned behind for a corner, a Magennis shot slipped out his grasp and went behind and then he clutched the ball after a mini scramble when it threatened to sneak over the line. Things were really heating up and McGowan did well to set-up Conor Newton to shoot only for him to pass to Magennis, who couldn't get a shot away.
Muirhead certainly could and almost gave Killie the lead with a terrific curling effort that was kept out by an even better save from Kello. We launched an attack from the corner that followed but McLean's shot was nowhere near the target. The same applied to a woeful effort from Chris Johnston at the other end before Slater was booked for hacking down Magennis. Johnston crossed for Lee Ashcroft to head wide before being replaced by David Moberg Karlsson while we replaced McGowan, who'd been having a good game, with Wylde.
For once, the sub worked - not something that happens very often. The ball found Wylde on the left and he drilled it back into the box. It was behind Thompson and in front of Magennis but just right for Newton, who knew exactly what to do this time as he smashed it past Samson to put us in front. It was a lead we fully merited and the first time we'd been ahead since we faced Hibs in February. However, it almost didn't last very long, Boyd getting in behind the defence before squeezing the ball past Kello, only to see it bounce off the post and away from anyone who could have tapped it in. We then got another break when a corner looked to be creeping in but Kello just kept it out.
Thankfully we had a relaxing last few minutes thanks to Wylde. Having created the first he decided to do the second all by himself. He grabbed hold of possession, charged to the edge of the box and then thumped it across Samson and in with the help of the post. It was a fantastic strike and not bad for someone who can apparently only run fast in a straight line.
The reaction to the goal and at full-time showed how important this result was, in terms of both our recent run of form and our season. We're not out of the woods by a long stretch, but we have showed we are capable of battling it out and getting results when the chips are down. Let's just hope this is the start of a run of form that will see us safely over the line and not another false dawn.
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