Killie stay up at Bairns' expense

Kilmarnock withstood a late onslaught to retain their SPL status and send Falkirk down with a 0-0 draw in the relegation decider at Rugby Park.

Last Updated: 08/05/10 at 15:10 Post Comment

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Both sides gave everything going forward in an even first 70 minutes but neither goalkeeper was seriously tested.

However, Falkirk threw men forward in the closing stages and carved out a glorious chance with three minutes remaining only to see Ryan Flynn volley over from 10 yards.

Kilmarnock also survived a penalty claim during five minutes of injury time but they hung on as Falkirk's five-year stay in the top flight was brought to an end.

Steven Pressley had guaranteed the Bairns would stay up when he took over in February but ultimately he fell just short of staving off a relegation that chairman Martin Ritchie has estimated will cost his club up to £2million.

Kilmarnock started on the front foot with the recalled Danny Invincibile and Chris Maguire up front in a 5-2-3 formation.

Kevin Kyle's flick-on threatened to release Craig Bryson but Falkirk right-back Brian McLean snuffed out the danger.

McLean soon diverted Manuel Pascali's header off target following one of several early corners from Bryson.

Falkirk settled into the game after a nervy opening 15 minutes. Scott Arfield embarked on a great run to the byline but Pascali's challenge stopped Colin Healy converting his cutback.

Tam Scobbie's flick almost set up Flynn in the goalmouth but the winger could not make proper contact.

Falkirk were almost caught out when Kyle laid the ball off into the path of the onrushing Bryson, but the midfielder's pass to the unmarked Invincibile on the edge of the box was too hard.

Falkirk wasted a decent attack in first-half injury time when McLean mis-kicked his attempted left-footed shot on the edge of the box following Flynn's through ball.

Kilmarnock replaced Invincibile with Conor Sammon but the Irishman almost cost his team when he failed to match McLean's overlapping run.

Arfield's pass perfectly fed the former Motherwell player but his ball across the face of goal was too far in front of his team-mates.

Kyle soon headed over Bryson's deep corner but the second period was proving more disjointed as tackles became even more keenly contested and nerves became more apparent.

Robert Olejnik made the first real save on the hour mark when he got down to comfortably hold Maguire's 25-yard effort.

Simon Ford replaced Pascali and the hosts carved out an opening when Jamie Hamill fed Bryson in the box but he was closed down by McLean.

Falkirk brought on Mark Stewart for Scobbie and moved to a 3-4-3 formation with Jimmy Calderwood responding by taking off Maguire for James Fowler.

The shape of the game changed going into the final quarter with Falkirk throwing men forward and Killie sitting deep and attempting to catch their visitors on the break.

They almost did so when Kyle's return ball played Sammon through but Marc Twaddle made an excellent last-ditch tackle.

Pressley brought on another striker, Carl Finnigan, for Healy in the 75th minute but the substitute's first contribution was penalised when he bundled Alan Combe over the line. Killie sat deeper and Arfield almost cut them open with a great turn and pass for Stewart but Ford diverted the forward's low cross behind.

Bryson's cross almost crept in at the back post as Kilmarnock relieved the pressure for a spell but soon every outfield player was deep inside the Killie half as Olejnik took a free-kick 40 yards from his goal.

The clear chance Falkirk were seeking soon came when Enoch Showunmi's header found Flynn unmarked 10 yards out but the young winger volleyed a yard over.

Falkirk had another more difficult chance when Finnigan volleyed towards the far corner from 16 yards but the ball deflected just wide off Ford with the Falkirk sub claiming for handball.

Falkirk forced a corner right on the 95th minute but Jack Compton's poor delivery spelled the end for Falkirk's SPL status and the final whistle sparked a mass pitch invasion from many of the home fans in the 10,662 crowd.

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Scottish Premiership

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Aberdeen 0 0 0
2 Celtic 0 0 0
3 Dundee 0 0 0
4 Dundee Utd 0 0 0
5 Hamilton 0 0 0
6 Inverness 0 0 0
7 Kilmarnock 0 0 0
8 Motherwell 0 0 0
9 Partick 0 0 0
10 Ross Co 0 0 0
11 St J'stone 0 0 0
12 St Mirren 0 0 0

Updated Thu, 26 Jun 2014

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