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Kilmarnock staged a thrilling second-half comeback to take a giant leap towards European football – and wreck a huge psychological blow on a St Mirren side who looked to have had the points sewn up at half-time.

Instead, three goals in seven minutes in a frantic second-half spell flipped this game on its head. And, with Saints shell-shocked, Killie turned the screw as the added insult to injury to run out comfortable 5-2 winners.

First-half goals from Charles Dunne and Mikael Mandron had given Saints a lead to take into the break – and Mandron will have cause to rue a glorious chance he scored which could have put the game to bed when Saints were still 2-0 to the good.

Instead, Kyle Vassell threw Killie a lifeline when he netted just after the hour mark – and how Derek McInnes’s side seized their chance.

They turned the screw on a Saints side who were left reeling from a comeback that blew them away.

Danny Armstrong restored parity from the spot before the winger turned provider with Marley Watkins heading past Hemming. Vassell added his second and Kilmarnock’s fourth as St Mirren struggled to regain any kind of composure inside a rampant Rugby Park before teenager David Watson added a fifth.

St Mirren still have it within their grasp to claim a top six finish for the second successive season but this will be a bitter pill to swallow. After controlling so much of the opening period, to lose by the margin they did will leave Robinson having to pick up considerable pieces this week.

It had all started so positively for them.

Dunne scorned a glorious chance to give Saints the lead following a Caolan Boyd-Munce free-kick deep into the Killie box.

He atoned shortly afterwards when he bundled in Greg Kiltie’s corner in front of an impressive visiting support.

St Mirren were aggrieved at the failure to award a penalty as they felt there had been the use ion a hand inside the box. As it was, they didn’t need it with Kiltie’s corner again causing all manner of issues inside the Killie box.

Mandron ghosted away from Joe Wright before volleying the ball low past Will Dennis for Saints’ second of the afternoon.

Killie emerged from the break keen to get themselves back into the game but a wild effort from Danny Armstrong seemed indicative of their display.

It could and should have been game over when another Boyd-Munce delivery picked out Mandron but, as Stuart Findlay slipped, the striker dragged his effort wide of the target.

At the other end, Robbie Deas thought he had given Killie a lifeline when his effort was saved by Hemming before the Saints keeper then collected from Watkins.

Kilmarnock got the goal they craved when Vassell gave them hope with his goal just after the hour mark.

The striker poked the ball past Hemming at the second attempt and within three minutes, the Rugby Park side were level.

Armstrong drilled a low penalty into the bottom right-hand corner after after Ryan Flynn had fouled Watkins. The roof fell in on Killie.

Watkins then headed from Armstrong’s delivery before Vassell netted his second and Kilmarnock’s fourth. Watkins’ long ball over the top picked out the forward who touch a touch before lashing his effort low into the bottom corner.

Watson then netted arguably the pick of the bunch as he danced his way through the Saints defence before dispatching past Hemming.



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