Football: Kilmarnock step up

East Fife 0 Kilmarnock 2 Findlay 45, Vareille 82 Attendance: 96 3
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The Independent Online
The magic of the cup remains something that captures Kilmarnock's attention, as they set out on the road to, they hope, another day in the sun. The contrast, though, with last season's Scottish Cup final success could hardly have been greater. Then, a 50,000 crowd packed out Ibrox to witness a glorious footnote in the club's history. This was more of a foothill, as Second Division East Fife were disposed of to book a place in the third round of the Coca-Cola Cup.

Bayview Park, though, is hardly the place to inspire the beautiful game. Maybe it was for that reason that the Kilmarnock manager, Bobby Williamson, left new signing Pat Nevin on the bench for 85 minutes. The artistry of the former Chelsea and Everton winger would have been out of place in this tough tie in which seven were booked and one sent off. The Kilmarnock captain Ray Montgomerie experienced the joy of lifting silverware less than three months ago, but here the only colour on his horizon was red, receiving his marching orders after 78 minutes.

At least goals from Billy Findlay and Jerome Vareille ensured Montgomerie would not suffer the further ignomy of becoming a giant-killing victim too.

The home side made a spirited and physical challenge but East Fife have known better days - they won this very competition, the League Cup, three times between 1947 and 1953 as well as the Scottish Cup, ironically defeating Kilmarnock in the final, in 1938.

There was never any chance of a repeat after Findlay's header in first- half injury time, from a cross by Gus McPherson, put Kilmarnock ahead. The East Fife substitute Robert Ryan squandered two good chances amid the mayhem of the second half before Vareille wrapped things up.

The Frenchman was snapped up by Kilmarnock after impressing during the club's pre-season tour of his native country. The coolness of his finishing in the 82nd minute suggests Vareille will be a useful asset in the CupWinner's Cup campaign, which starts at Shelbourne on Thursday.

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