Killie breeze past Montrose into next round
Goals from Kyle Lafferty, Chris Burke and Greg Kiltie secured Kilmarnock’s advancement to the fifth round of the Scottish Cup at Montrose’s expense. Taylor Murray reports.
Kilmarnock hosted Montrose at Rugby Park for the fourth round of the Scottish Cup. It is the first time these two teams have met since their 1991/92 League One campaign.
The sides came into the game on contrasting form, with the home side only losing one in their last five, whilst the away team have only won two of their last five. A lot of Kilmarnock’s recent form can be attributed to striker Kyle Lafferty, with the forward scoring six times in as many games, including a hat-trick against Stenhousemuir in the last round of the cup.
Killie manager Tommy Wright made four changes from last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Ross County – Ross Millen, Calum Waters, Youssouf Mulumbu and Greg Kiltie all came into the side for Aaron McGowan, Brandon Haunstrup, Gary Dicker and Rory McKenzie.
On the other hand, Montrose are stuck in the middle of the pack in League One. The Gable Endies started the season by securing a solitary point in their Scottish League Cup group and only won two of their opening five games. However, they have since turned their season around and have only lost once in their last five league matches. With only a handful of games left, they are looking to push into the playoff places at the top end of the league.
Stewart Petrie also made four changes to the team that were dismantled by Partick Thistle less than 48 hours ago – Chris Mochrie, Harry Cochrane, Liam Callaghan and Paul Watson replaced Terry Masson, Cammy Ballantyne, Graham Webster and Christian Antoniazzi in the starting lineup.
The game got off to a lively start as Lafferty gave the home side the lead after just six minutes. A ball came forward from the Killie midfield towards Kiltie, but it looked as though Allan Fleming would claim it without any trouble. However, the Montrose keeper missed the ball altogether, allowing Kiltie to get on the end of the pass and lob it into the box for Lafferty to turn it home and put the home side ahead.
Minutes later, Montrose created a good chance of their own. Mochrie and Cochrane linked up nicely on the right-hand side, finding space between the Killie defence. Unfortunately for the League One side, Cochrane’s shot went flying wide of the far post.
Chris Burke almost doubled Kilmarnock’s lead as he fired a powerful drive towards goal from 25 yards out. Fleming got a touch on the thunderous effort, but his touch spun the ball up into the air, looping back towards goal and the keeper had to get his hand to it and tip it over the bar at the last second.
Unfortunately, those impressive saves would count for nothing after Killie scored their second after a series of corners. Mitch Pinnock received the ball short from Burke at the corner and touched it back to him. Burke swung a cross in towards a number of blue and white shirts and after taking a touch off of a Montrose player, the ball nestled into the back of the net.
Kilmarnock went into the break comfortably on top, bar a few chances for Montrose, but it was the away side who came out the strongest in the second half. Zech Medley was caught napping on the ball and Lewis Milne nipped in and stole it. With no one else in sight, the former Raith Rovers man went one-on-one with Colin Doyle, but fired his effort straight at the Killie keeper and the danger was cleared,
The Gable Endies would rue that missed chance as Killie went even further in front after 61 minutes. A dangerous pass back to Fleming led him to take a touch to create some space, but he didn’t anticipate Lafferty rushing him down and blocking his clearance. The deflection fell to Kiltie’s feet and he simply passed the ball into the net for Killie’s third goal.
Throughout the remainder of the half, neither team created much more than a half-chance, but Montrose would find a goal after 81 minutes. Russell McLean collected the ball on the left-hand side, holding it until a runner made themselves available in the box. Substitute Ballantyne arrived and received the cutback from the striker, finishing beyond Doyle and setting up an interesting final stage of the match.
Montrose would have one final chance to make Kilmarnock nervous, as a corner was whipped into the box by Milne, with Aiden Quinn connecting with it well. The ball almost rippled the net, but Doyle made a decent save right on the line to deny a second Montrose goal.
The referee blew the full time whistles shortly after, securing advancement into the quarter finals for Kilmarnock. Montrose gave the Premiership side a good game, but it was to no avail, as the pressure from the home side proved too much to handle.
Kilmarnock now face a visit from fellow Premiership side St. Mirren in the next round, set to be played in just a week’s time, with both sides angling for a visit to Hampden. Meanwhile, Montrose can turn their focus back to their league campaign, as they welcome Cove Rangers to Links Park on Tuesday.