Kilmarnock 1-3 Raith Rovers: Late Poplatnik double seals three points for Kirkcaldy men
A second half double by Slovenian substitute Matej Poplatnik earned Raith Rovers a fine 3-1 victory at Kilmarnock in Saturday’s Championship clash at Rugby Park.
Livingston loanee Poplatnik, 29, had a significant impact after coming on as a 71st minute substitute for Ethon Varian with the score at 1-1.
Just 10 minutes after being introduced to the fray, Poplatnik shot calmly past home keeper Zach Hemming after a long clearance by away custodian Jamie MacDonald wasn’t dealt with by Killie centre half Euan Murray.
Then, two minutes into injury time, Poplatnik comfortably shot home after a brilliant breakaway down the right flank by Reghan Tumilty, giving a 3-1 away success for Rovers, their third straight win on the road in the league having previously beaten Morton and Ayr.
Earlier, fourth placed Rovers had started the match with bookies offering odds as high as 4/1 on them picking up the three points in Ayrshire.
And Killie looked more likely early on, with Oli Shaw having two shots saved by MacDonald, although Raith also had their moments with Brad Spencer shooting wide and Liam Dick’s back post effort being easily saved.
But Dick did hit the target on 19 minutes to put Rovers 1-0 up when he headed in Varian’s long cross from the right. It was the defender’s first goal for the club since joining from Alloa Athletic.
Killie’s Scott Robinson had a volley well saved after a Shaw knockdown, before a Dario Zanatta shot was blocked by Murray at the other end.
Into the second half and Shaw volleyed wide before Varian’s long ranger at the other end was saved.
Stephen McGinn volleyed high and wide for the hosts following a corner, before Raith’s Tom Lang nodded off target following a Zanatta corner for Raith.
Kilmarnock wasted two opportunities to score from corners when Dylan McGowan had a shot blocked and Blair Alston headed just over.
Raith survived a scare when an indirect free-kick inside the box was conceded when MacDonald handled a Lang backpass but Callum Hendry’s shot was blocked.
Hendry did then mark his debut with a goal when he headed in Chris Burke’s cross for 1-1 but Raith prevailed thanks to Poplatnik’s double.