St Mirren kick off Betfred Cup campaign with shoot-out win against Kilmarnock

St Mirren claimed first blood in the Betfred Cup after beating Kilmarnock on penalties as the Scottish domestic season kicked off at Rugby Park.

The first game of the season saw the two sides share a goalless draw with plenty of chances, but it was the Buddies who claimed the bonus point to take the lead in Group H.

The newly promoted Ladbrokes Premiership side enjoyed the better of the match but were forced to wait until penalties to claim the win, with Daniel Mullen netting the winning spot-kick to seal a 3-2 win in front of the travelling fans.

With both sides still in the early stages of their pre-season preparations, it was predictably a slow opening to the domestic season.

St Mirren have been denied any real match practice after their friendly with Bolton was cancelled, and that lack of sharpness almost cost them early on.

Jack Baird was caught in possession inside his own half, unaware of the pressure from Jordan Jones and the winger proved too quick for the defender, speeding down the left and squaring for Lee Erwin. The striker should have had an easy task to open the scoring but hit his shot straight at Craig Samson.

Cameron Smith mishit a volley into the ground and saw it loop up on to the top of the bar in the Buddies’ best chance of the first half hour.

Eamonn Brophy fired narrowly over from a tight angle before the visitors gradually took hold of the game and Cameron MacPherson forced a good save from Jamie MacDonald before the two sides went in level.

They continued to impress after the break and should have been ahead as Jordan Kirkpatrick and Baird missed good chances.

After the game ended 0-0, they were forced into penalties for an extra point and after Erwin, Gary Dicker and Kirk Broadfoot missed with poor efforts, Mullen stepped up to clinch the bonus point for the visitors.

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