Derek McInnes hailed “different class” Danny Armstrong after his double helped Kilmarnock to a 2-1 win cinch Premiership over St Johnstone at Rugby Park
The 24-year-old wide-man opened the scoring in the 11th minute with a stunning 25-yard free-kick then headed in a second at the start of the second half before Saints substitute Theo Blair reduced the deficit just as four minutes of added time began.
It was only the second win in nine league matches for the newly-promoted Ayrshire side, who had lost three on the bounce away from home, and McInnes was delighted with Armstrong and the rest of his players.
He said: “Every game needs those moments of quality. It was important that we got the first goal and what a goal it was. It was different class.
“I thought at first it was too far out. Fair play to him, he is always practising with a few of the lads every day after training and it came good for him and for us.
“On the back of so many away games and three defeats in a row it was important to be at home and important to demonstrate to the supporters to show that we are here and we are fighting.
“The body language, the effort, the tenacity and the ground covered was far more what I want.
“It is a case of making sure that being strong at home is going to be a big part of us doing well this year.
“That is seven points from nine now at home, aside from the Celtic game.
“It is important we enjoy being at home but it was important that we won the game and we got a bit of confidence.
“Even in the warm-up St Johnstone looked confident. We had to work for that – and by Christ we worked for it.”
Saints boss Callum Davidson, who revealed that missing Adam Montgomery broke his small toe and Connor McLennan had popped his shoulder and was on the bench due to lack of numbers, bemoaned the second goal at the start of the second half which he believes was crucial.
He said: “In the first half we actually created some really good chances and we could do better.
“We concede with a wonder free-kick, which I can accept – but what I can’t accept is the start to the second half.
“That two-minute spell cost us the game. It is really frustrating.
“We had numerous chances to clear our lines, we don’t deal with the cross, with the second phase, a lot of things that I was really disappointed in and ultimately that cost us the game tonight.
“In the second half when we go 2-0 down we need to be braver and ask more questions of the Kilmarnock defence.
“Be brave, go past people and make things happen – it is the only way you get back into the game.
“We didn’t do that until the last few minutes.”