Kilmarnock manager Angelo Alessio believes Betfred Cup matchwinner Dom Thomas can make an impact at Rugby Park this season.
Thomas spent the last campaign on loan at Dumbarton and notched 14 goals in 27 appearances for the Ladbrokes League One outfit and climbed off the bench to hit the extra-time winner in the 1-0 win over Hamilton.
And Alessio is confident the 23-year-old can reproduce that goalscoring form for the Ayrshire outfit as he bagged his first goal for Kilmarnock since a double in a Betfred Cup group stage win over Clyde in July 2017.
Thomas’s crucial 113th-minute strike, just eight minutes after he had replaced Chris Burke, sealed a huge win for Alessio as it ended a run of three successive defeats and eased the pressure which had been building on the Italian after the disappointing start to his Kilmarnock managerial tenure.
Alessio revealed he told Thomas to grab the vital goal as he called him up from the bench and insists the striker will play his part this term following loan spells at Queen of the South and Dumbarton.
Alessio said: “I think all the substitutes were good because (Gary) Dicker, (Greg) Kiltie and Dominic, of course he scored the goal, but they all had the right attitude when they went on the pitch.
“I believed we would score the goal because when Dom Thomas went on the pitch, I said ‘go and score’ because I believe in him.
“He has the skills and he scored a lot of goals last season on loan. I believe in him.
“It was important to win the game after three defeats.
“It’s important for the team, for everyone here because now we are more confident.”
Hamilton head coach Brian Rice handed a debut to 17-year-old Jamie Hamilton and he was full of praise for the young defender’s performance.
Rice said: “I told Jamie on Friday I was putting him in. I’d no qualms about playing the kid, he’s the captain of Scotland’s Under-17s, he’s assured, he knows what he’s doing and it didn’t faze him.
“I don’t think there’s anyone who let the club down.
“Everyone fought their corner and we were disappointed to lose the game to a soft goal.
“Marios (Ogboe) had a good chance, it came to him pretty quickly, but it’s fine margins in cup ties.”
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