Twaddle rewarded

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The Independent Online
Kilmarnock 0

Raith Rovers 1

Twaddle 31

Attendance: 5,505

Kilmarnock's flirtation with relegation looks like becoming a torrid affair after this defeat sucked them into a menage a trois at the bottom of the Premier League. Kevin Twaddle's 31st-minute winner rewarded Raith for enterprise in the face of adversity and put them closer on the heels of Motherwell and the home side above them.

This game had relegation six-pointer written all over it, even this early in the season. And Kilmarnock, robbed of their top players by a flu outbreak in mid-week and then of their confidence by a six-goal thrashing from Celtic, could ill afford to lose. Kilmarnock are the embodiment of the dilemma facing Scottish football; too small to live with the Old Firm, but too big to be condemned to the purgatory of Division One.

Rangers have just unveiled proposals for restructuring the league system and scrapping the 10-club Premier Division. Such is the narrow margin for error that eighth place, the position Kilmarnock started the game in, is not a signal for champagne, but for sweating.

Already the pressure has cost Alex Totten his job; now the caretaker Bobby Williamson's neck is on the block. It is a shame for a club which spent pounds 8m transforming Rugby Park into a splendid 18,000 all-seater stadium. Certainly, the burden looked heavy on the shoulders of many of their players. Raith seemed far more carefree, which was strange given their even greater peril.

Raith's woes were forgotten when Twaddle scored. It was set up by Tony Rougier, who produced an outrageous piece of skill in beating four defenders, before cutting the ball back for his colleague to shoot past Kilmarnock keeper Dragoje Lekovic. The Yugoslav keeper prevented the home side going further behind with a wonderful 56th-minute save from Soren Andersen, one of two Danish signings making their debut for Raith. The other, Carsten Hallum, marked his baptism with a booking and was lucky to stay on the pitch after flexing his muscles on a later occasion. How Kilmarnock must wish they too had a bit of punch.

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