Former Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty earned praise from supporters and his new manager with an impressive but luckless performance in his first start for Kilmarnock.
Lafferty’s second spell at Ibrox came to an end in the summer of 2019 and he’s now back in Scottish football following spells with Sarpsborg, Sunderland and Reggina.
He made his Killie debut off the bench in a 1-0 defeat at Aberdeen last weekend but was brought into the starting XI for Saturday afternoon’s home fixture against Dundee United.
Lafferty was signed to help the Ayrshire club avoid relegation and he showed he’s up for the challenge with an all-action 90-minute display.
In the first half, the Northern Ireland international hit the crossbar with a wonderful curling effort from distance before testing United keeper Benjamin Siegrist with a firmly-struck free-kick.
The visitors took a 1-0 lead into the interval after Adrian Sportle’s deflected strike but in the 64th minute, Lafferty was credited with an assist after his flick-on from a corner found it’s way to centre-back Zech Medley, who prodded home at the back post.
The former Ger looked to have put his side in front minutes later when he slammed home a finish from close range, only for the goal to be ruled out for a foul on the keeper.
Luck wasn’t on his side but Lafferty earned praise from manager Tommy Wright and plenty of Killie fans.
“He’s got that in his locker,” said Wright of the long-range first-half shot that struck the crossbar [BBC Sport Scotland Twitter]. “He hit a good free-kick after that as well where Siegrist has had to make an important save.”
“I think you can see that we need to keep him fit. He is focused and he knows what we need from him between now and the end of the season. He played a big part today.”
Here’s a selection of reactions from supporters:
Lots of chances for Killie… just missing the golden finisher. Happy with lafferty’s presence so far.
— Mojohey (@MorrisMilne) February 27, 2021
I thought Lafferty was past it. I apologise
— FPL_TheKilliePie (@FPLTheKilliePie) February 27, 2021
In large patches we did look better & again defensively solid in large spells. We did shoot more, I guess I hoped for more quality with them. Medleys goal will hopefully kick them on next week at County, because it can’t all be about lafferty. Subs impressed me too tbh
— Ally Niven (@allyniven) February 27, 2021
A Rangers loanee was sent off for the first time in his career on Saturday while another scored a spectacular goal as his team came from behind to secure an unlikely draw.