KILMARNOCK produced their best football of what has been a miserable season as they fought back from a goal down to thrash a desperately disappointing Inverness Caley Thistle.

In a thoroughly entertaining match, which had looked drab on paper given both sides had little to play for, Kilmarnock steamrolled their Highland opponents in a quality second-half display.

The Ayrshire men must have feared the worst when they lost the opening goal from the penalty spot with Ian Black converting. But despite not receiving a spot kick of their own for what was surely the most blatant handball in the box all season, Frazer Wright redeemed himself for conceding the penalty and a double from Craig Bryson along with Iain Flannigan's effort, handed Kilmarnock the win their second-half performance in particular deserved.

This term, Kilmarnock have struggled badly and were even in danger of being sucked into a relegation battle before Gretna's troubles ended any lingering doubts about SPL survival. So no wonder manager Jim Jefferies reflected warmly on a superb performance. "We told the players to just go out and pass the ball and they did that," he said.

"You could see the confidence flow all through the team after the third goal. We entertained the crowd and gave a really good performance. Some of our play in the second half was terrific. There's plenty of games to go now to get us further up the table."

It didn't look that way though when Inverness took a 14th minute lead from the penalty spot. Wright clattered Ross Tokely in the box despite the giant Inverness player facing away from goal and referee Stephen Finnie made the correct call - just about the only time this happened all game. Ian Black stroked a superb penalty into the net, sending Killie goalkeeper Alan Combe the wrong way.

But Killie came from behind, drawing level in the 36th minute when a wonderful free-kick from the edge of the box from Flannigan cracked off the inside of the post and Wright made up for his penalty mistake when he rolled the rebound into the empty net.

Kilmarnock should have had a penalty of their own three minutes into the second half when David Fernandez's super chip was blocked by goalkeeper Michael Fraser, but he could only push it towards his own net.

Flannigan bundled the rebound goalwards but his effort was only stopped by the hand of Roy McBain. It was as clear a handball as you are likely to get, but the referee somehow managed to miss it.

So justice was surely done a minute later when Bryson's shot from 25 yards bounced over the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Fraser into the net, which he really should have comfortably saved.

In fairness to Fraser, the ball did bounce wickedly, but he won't look back with any fondness.

Bryson made it three in the 57th minute when he drilled Tim Clancy's cutback into the net via a Phil McGuire deflection.

Any fight in Inverness vanished now and they were in serious danger of being on the receiving end of a serious drubbing when Kilmarnock'sourth came seven minutes later when Flannigan fairly rattled in Fernandez's cutback. Thankfully for Inverness, Kilmarnock were content to take their foot off the gas at this stage and the pressure began to ease up.

It wasn't happy viewing for visiting manager Craig Brewster, who dropped contract rebel Dennis Wyness altogether from his squad yesterday. "I am extremely disappointed with our second half performance," he admitted. "We didn't stop crosses getting in, we didn't get close and our heads went down."

It is too late at this stage of the season to claim anything other than disappointment for this campaign, but perhaps Jefferies can start to look forward to more next season.