- 11th in Big 12
Ayr move three points clear at Scottish League 1 summit after Raith victory
Ayr moved three points clear at the top of Scottish League 1 with a 3-0 win over Raith.There was never much doubt about this result from the moment Lawrence Shankland put Ayr ahead in the 14th minute, converting after Raith failed to clear the ball.A brilliant effort from Robbie Crawford doubled the lead in the 21st minute, crashing a fierce effort in off the crossbar.The Honest Men had a chance to make it three midway through the second half, but Michael Moffat skied a penalty, though they did add to the scoreline deep into injury time when Craig Moore headed home.
- PA Sport
Hibernian 5-0 Ayr United
Anthony Stokes marked his first start since returning to Hibernian with a double as the capital club booked their place in the quarter-final of the Betfred Cup with a 5-0 win over Ayr.The Irishman kick-started his third stint at Easter Road when he nodded home a Danny Swanson corner from close range in the 19th minute.Stokes turned provider when he slipped a fine through-ball for Simon Murray, who converted his ninth goal of the season in cool fashion.The same pairing linked up after the break to end the game as a contest, with Murray whipping in a superb deep cross for Stokes to bundle into the net at the back-post.Late strikes from Efe Ambrose and Deivydas Matulevicius concluded the scoring as Hibs claimed a comprehensive triumph.Making is first start for Hibs since inspiring Hibs to a 3-2 win over Rangers in the William Scottish Cup final in 2016, Stokes deservedly picked up man of the match - and will be desperate to keep his place when Neil Lennon takes his side to Ibrox on Saturday for the first rematch between the clubs since that afternoon at Hampden.While the hosts dominated, Ayr boss Ian McCall will be rightly furious with the sloppy nature of Hibs' opener. Stokes was left an unforgivable amount of space to head a Swanson delivery beyond Jordan Hart.Murray doubled the Hibees' advantage before the break, latching on to a pass from his strike partner and continuing his hot-streak with a composed finish.Ayr were rocking as Stokes lashed two efforts inches wide from distance and the former Celtic striker did finally get his second of the evening when he met a superb delivery from the irrepressible Murray and belied a tight angle to poke the ball beyond the scrambling Hart.Ambrose reacted quickest to make it 4-0, nudging an effort over the line after a John McGinn corner had caused havoc in the Honest Men's area.And there was time for Matulevicius to add further gloss to the scoreline, with his shot from just inside the box deflecting beyond Hart for the Lithuanian striker's maiden goal in Hibs colours.ends
- PA Sport
Ayr United 1-0 Kilmarnock
Andy Geggan marked his return to Ayr with a derby winner to leave Kilmarnock in danger of a second consecutive group-stage exit from the Betfred Cup.The defender capitalised on poor marking to head the only goal at Somerset Park 39 minutes into his first game since returning from a five-year spell at Dunfermline.The goal was thoroughly deserved and Ian McCall's side showed resilience to extend Kilmarnock's 24-year run without victory at their Ayrshire rivals' ground, which hosted a near capacity crowd of about 6,000 fans.Kilmarnock announced the signing of Alex Samizadeh from Bolton before kick-off and the teenage striker started on the bench as Stephen O'Donnell, Calum Waters, Kirk Broadfoot and Alan Power made their debuts.Ayr, who went full-time following relegation from the Championship, created the first real opportunity as Jamie Adams was allowed a free header on the six-yard line following a corner but Jamie MacDonald got down well to stop.Power had a half-chance after a late sprint into the box to meet a corner but he volleyed well over and soon gifted possession away inside his own half before MacDonald pushed Craig Moore's shot away.The goalkeeper then parried Declan McDaid's free-kick wide of his near post but was left exposed again from the resulting corner as Geggan met McDaid's delivery to nod home from close range under little pressure.Jordan Jones had looked the most threatening visiting player and Ayr often resorted to foul means to stop the winger's forward runs.However, referee John Beaton ruled there was no infringement when he went down inside the box after wriggling between two opponents early in the second half.Jordan Hart was finally forced into action following Rory McKenzie's well-hit long-range drive but the home goalkeeper proved up to the task as he gripped the ball on the soaked surface.Kilmarnock were enjoying plenty of possession but Ayr defended their box well and MacDonald was called into action several times as Ayr put their rare second-half attacks to good effect. Jones forced Hart into a decent stop after cutting inside before MacDonald prevented Robbie Crawford netting a sensational second after a mazy run, but one goal proved enough.ends
- PA Sport
Ayr halt losing run with draw
Rock bottom Ayr halted a three-game losing run in the Scottish Championship after holding third-placed Dundee United to a goalless draw on Saturday.The point saw Ayr close the gap on ninth-placed Dumbarton to three points following their earlier defeat by Dunfermline.The stalemate at Somerset Park meant the Tangerines missed the chance to usurp Falkirk and move into second place on the day that Hibernian were crowned champions.
- PA Sport
Mark Durnan secures hard-fought Dundee United win
Mark Durnan's winner 12 minutes from time saw Dundee United claim a narrow 2-1 win at home to Ayr in the Scottish Championship.The Tangerines survived a late scare to claim three points, with two goal-line clearances deep into stoppage time securing the result.The lively Simon Murray put the hosts ahead in the 23rd minute, finishing superbly from a tight angle after a smart burst of pace to claim his ninth league goal of the season.Thomas Mikkelsen saw a penalty claim waved away prior to half-time, before the referee pointed to the spot following clumsy work from Tony Andreu, with Gary Harkins stepping up to level the scores.However the lead was restored in the 78th minute as Murray knocked the ball down for Durnan, who smashed home to secure the points.
- PA Sport
Struggling Ayr edge out goalkeeper-less Raith
Ayr recorded a crucial 1-0 win in their bid for survival but they had to do it the hard way against a Raith outfit without a specialised goalkeeper.Rovers had asked for the game to be postponed after they were unable to bring in cover with all three of their goalkeepers sidelined by injury.But their request was rejected by the Scottish Professional Football League and they had to fulfil the fixture with an outfielder in goal.Midfielder Ryan Stevenson volunteered to stand in for Conor Brennan, who sustained a foot injury in Saturday's defeat at Queen of the South, and for much of the contest the 32-year-old frustrated Ayr.Both sides went into the game in wretched form - Raith had not won in 14 league matches while Ayr were 11 without victory - and there was little to separate them in a tense encounter.Ayr were unable to take advantage of Raith's handicap until Farid El Alagui headed in Brian Gilmour's cross on 62 minutes for his first goal since October.And that proved to be the winner as ninth-placed Ayr moved to within a point of their fellow strugglers in Ladbrokes Scottish Championship.
- PA Sport
Ross Forbes and Gary Oliver bag a brace each as Morton ease past Ayr
Ross Forbes and Gary Oliver both scored twice as Morton beat Ayr 4-1 to move within three points of second-place Dundee United.Morton opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Forbes curled the ball home from 20 yards, and the same player doubled the visitors' advantage eight minutes later.The Ton found themselves 3-0 up just after the half-hour mark when Oliver sent a low strike past Ayr goalkeeper Greg Fleming.The hosts pulled one back through Jamie Adams in the 36th minute before Oliver added his second from close range in the 65th minute to complete the scoring.
- PA Sport
Queen of the South and Ayr play out goalless draw
Queen of the South and Ayr will both take their long winless records into 2017 after a goalless draw at Palmerston Park.The hosts are now 13 games since their last league victory, while Ayr have not won in nine Championship outings.Gary Harkins and Alan Forrest were narrowly off target early on for Ayr, who then hit the crossbar through Daryll Meggatt after 20 minutes.Stephen Dobbie threatened either side of half-time for Queen of the South and then brought a parry from Greg Fleming after an hour.Darren Brownlie saw a header go over the bar as the hosts pushed for a winning goal late on, but in truth a stalemate was always the likely outcome.
- PA Sport
Ryan Stevenson rescues Dumbarton in eight-goal thriller at Ayr
Ryan Stevenson headed a late equaliser for 10-man Dumbarton to round off an eight-goal thriller against Ayr at Somerset Park.Scott McKenna and Gary Harkins gave the hosts a two-goal advantage before the break before strikes from Robert Thomson and Daniel Harvie drew Dumbarton level.Alan Forrest put Ayr back in front from the spot in the 74th minute after Sons defender Alan Stirling was sent off for a foul on Paul Cairney.In a dramatic final six minutes, Joe Thomson equalised for Dumbarton with a cross-shot only for Cairney to restore the hosts' advantage almost immediately from close range.But the visitors were not finished and they grabbed a point in the 88th minute when Stevenson headed home from close range following a corner.
- PA Sport
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