Kilmarnock climbed up to third place in the Ladbrokes Premiership with a comprehensive 5-0 victory over Hamilton at Rugby Park.
Goals from Greg Taylor, Conor McAleny, Youssouf Mulumbu, Chris Burke and Mikael Ndjoli helped Steve Clarke’s side leapfrog Aberdeen and into contention for a European place next season.
The result also ensures Hamilton remain in the three-way fight to avoid relegation and they could have little complaints given how few chances they created throughout the 90 minutes with a tame header from George Oakley the closest they came to scoring.
Kilmarnock made three changes from the side that had drawn at Ibrox in their previous game, with McAleny, Aaron Tshibola, and Kris Boyd in for Alan Power, Burke and Eamonn Brophy.
Hamilton, in contrast, stuck with the same starting XI that had beaten Hearts last time out.
Accies had kept a clean sheet in that victory but their defensive resistance was broken here after just five minutes. Mulumbu spotted the run of Taylor down Kilmarnock’s left wing and the full-back applied a powerful finish via a post for his first goal for the club.
Kilmarnock continued to look comfortable in possession without causing too much trouble for Gary Woods in the Accies goal. A low effort from McAleny was comfortably saved.
Hamilton struggled in the early stages to get out of their own half but finally managed an effort on target after 36 minutes although there was not enough power in Oakley’s header to beat Daniel Bachmann.
Accies were gradually becoming more competitive but a second Kilmarnock goal after 56 minutes stopped their progress in its tracks. The impressive Rory McKenzie made inroads down the right wing and, although Boyd could not turn in his cross, McAleny was alert enough to thump the ball past Woods for his second goal in as many games.
Kilmarnock were finally getting into their stride and threatening to score with every attack. A third goal duly followed after 63 minutes and again McKenzie was at the heart of it. The winger’s pass seemed to be meant for Boyd but Mulumbu collected it, shifted the ball to the side before finishing with confidence.
Moments later and only an incredible save from point-blank range denied McKenzie the goal his overall play merited. A fourth goal did arrive, however, in the 84th minute, Burke flicking a shot into the far corner of the net, before fellow substitute Ndjoli made it five in injury time.
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