Dundee United’s miserable start to 2007 continued at Rugby Park, with their 3rd SPL defeat of the New Year.
Craig Levein’s side has a 100% record of 3 played, 3 lost in the league this year so far – but have at least won once, by beating Saint Mirren in the Scottish Cup last mid-week.
Christian Kalvenes and Lee Wilkie returned to Levein’s starting line-up after Kalvenes recovered from a knee injury which has kept him out since December, while Wilkie returned from his 1-month loan spell at Ross County to go straight back into the team.
Captain Barry Robson was once again suspended and his influence in the side was sorely missed, whilst David McCracken was completely dropped from the squad after news that the Dundee United will not be renewing the 25-year-olds contract at the end of the season.
Kilmarnock have clearly been one of Dundee United’s bogey teams over the last 10 years – with United only beating Killie a miserable 5 times out of the last 25 meetings between the 2 clubs, going back to the start of the year 2000.
On this occasion it wasn’t a humiliating 5 goal defeat, which Rangers striker Kris Boyd inflicted during the 2004/05 season while he was at the Rugby Park club, but a 1-0 defeat to Jim Jeffries’ struggling side will still be seen as unacceptable by manager Levein.
The result could have been much worse, if Derek Stillie hadn’t saved a 47th minute Steven Naismith penalty, after Gary Kenneth was judged to have brought down Rocco Quinn inside the penalty box.
However, it was a 61st minute left-footed strike from Peter Leven that secured all 3 points for the home side, after the midfielder received a pass from Allan Johnston just 6-yards out.
A strong driving wind played havoc with the match for the full 90minutes, with both sides forced to keep the ball on the muddy, soaking wet surface or watch the wind send it miles off course.
Dundee United have few real chances in the match, despite dominating most of the first half, with a 22nd minute chance for Gary Kenneth the best of them.
The defender’s right-footed shot from 6-yards out was saved by former United keeper Alan Combe, but at the expense of a corner.
Collin Samuel forced Combe into making another good saved from the corner, after Craig Conway’s delivery gave the Trinidadian a chance from 12-yards out.
In the 2nd half, it was Kilmarnock who dominated proceedings and they would have scored several if it wasn’t for some great saved from Derek Stillie, including a late 87th minute chance for Allan Johnstone.
Johnstone’s 25-yard curling effort forced Stillie into a full stretch save, parrying the ball round his right-hand post.
Overall, a disappointing performance from Dundee United, at a time when some of the current squad appear to be playing for their futures at the club.
Kilmarnock 1-0 Dundee United