Football

Kilmarnock's Greg Kiltie, pictured left, celebrates his opener with Gary Dicker.

Kilmarnock overturn first-leg deficit against Falkirk to retain top-flight spot

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Greg Kiltie scored twice as Kilmarnock preserved their top-flight status in emphatic fashion with a 4-0 victory over Falkirk.

Kiltie and Miles Addison turned the Ladbrokes Premiership play-off final on its head inside eight minutes at Rugby Park and Killie had the game wrapped up by the 65th minute as Kiltie and Boyd scored in quick succession.

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Manager Lee Clark had urged the Kilmarnock fans to cheer his side on to safety and they responded as a crowd of 11,013 - including about 4,000 away fans - created a memorable atmosphere.

Kilmarnock have shipped four or more goals on six occasions this season - five of them at Rugby Park - but they turned the tables as they swept aside the Championship runners-up to extend their stay in the top flight beyond 23 years.

Falkirk had taken a 1-0 advantage in first-leg stoppage time, but it was gone inside three minutes on Sunday.

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Josh Magennis, who missed the opening tie because of a hamstring strain, got round the outside of Luke Leahy to the byline and cut it back for Kiltie, who took a touch and drilled home from 14 yards.

Tom Taiwo and Craig Sibbald could not trouble Jamie MacDonald with efforts at the other end and Kilmarnock soon struck again after Lee Hodson's cross into the six-yard box.

Tope Obadeyi did enough to force the ball back across goal as he rose with Aaron Muirhead and Addison bundled it over the line.

Falkirk looked stunned and they gave the ball away too often in the Kilmarnock half to trouble their opponents, who had another half chance when Kris Boyd got a couple of yards on centre-back Paul Watson. The former Scotland striker volleyed well wide with his left foot.

Falkirk striker Bob McHugh got a free header on the half-hour mark but could not hit the target from 16 yards. The chance settled the visitors and they began to pose a threat. Craig Sibbald produced an acrobatic effort from John Baird's cross but it was straight at MacDonald.

Killie had a glorious chance 10 minutes into the second half. Danny Rogers parried Lee Ashcroft's header following Craig Slater's free-kick and Obadeyi headed the rebound over from two yards, although the ball flashed up at him quickly.

Falkirk brought on midfielder Blair Alston and striker Lee Miller but they fell further behind in the 62nd minute. Obadeyi sprinted past Muirhead and cut the ball back for Kiltie, who only needed one touch this time as he drove home.

If the tie was still alive then, the hosts killed it three minutes later. Magennis won the ball midway inside his own half and drove forward on the counter-attack, beating David McCracken before squaring for Boyd to stroke home from eight yards.

MacDonald saved McHugh's effort but a bigger concern for Kilmarnock - and Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill - was when Magennis went off injured with 15 minutes left. However, the striker was able to walk off without limping.

Myles Hippolyte thought he had pulled a goal back in the 88th minute but fellow substitute Miller was penalised for a foul on MacDonald.

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