St Johnstone had an afternoon to forget when things went wrong for them before and during the game.
Tommy Wright’s plans had to be torn up when four of his players got caught up in a traffic jam caused by a lunchtime accident on the A9.
Two of them – Richard Foster and Michael O’Halloran – would have started but the right-back didn’t make the squad and the on-loan Rangers forward could only be listed as a substitute.
In the game itself, Saints fought back from losing an early goal to equalise through Steven MacLean, only to be beaten by Eamonn Brophy’s second half winner.
After the drama of the team selection, things didn’t get much better when the game kicked off and Saints found themselves behind after just 10 minutes.
Scott Tanser made a mess of a back pass, which Zander Clark was unable to prevent going out for a corner.
Dom Thomas delivered the set-piece into the box and Liam Craig looked to have a simple clearance at the far post from Stuart Findlay’s header but the midfielder barely managed to get boot to ball and Killie were ahead.
The visitors had a chance to double their advantage five minutes before the break when Kris Boyd was put through by Brophy. But the veteran striker’s shot didn’t match the quality of the flick-on and his effort soared over the bar.
Saints hadn’t been at their best however they went into the break level with a goal of real quality. Blair Alston delivered a cross to the near post which MacLean met with a diving header to give Jamie MacDonald no chance.
Seconds after the re-start Brophy did well to make space for a shot, which only missed the target by a small margin.
Saints began to take a hold of the game after that for a spell, though. Passes were finding their targets and chances created, with a four-man move that culminated in a Craig shot being saved one example on 56 minutes.
There was nothing fancy about a punt up the pitch which MacLean chased down as MacDonald raced out of his box. The Killie keeper wasn’t very convincing in the way he dealt with it but did just enough to clear the danger.
That good spell for the hosts didn’t count for anything as on 66 minutes the Rugby Park side were back in front.
Stephen O’Donnell caught the Saints defence flat-footed with a short pass at the edge of the box and Brophy’s angled finish was lethal.
The Killie forward was at the centre of all the action for a few minutes as first he was denied a penalty when he went down in the box from a Steven Anderson challenge and then he squandered a one v one with Clark.
Wright made three changes as Saints chased the game but O’Halloran wasn’t one of them.
David Wotherspoon nearly became a supersub though, when his spectacular 25-yarder smashed off the post with just a few minutes left.
That was as close as Saints came to an equaliser and Steve Clarke had another away win to his name.