WITH the sun dipping and the clock showing just six minutes at Rugby Park, the ball was swept into the channel and off scampered Mitch Pinnock into space as Kilmarnock jersey flooded towards Dundee United’s goal. 

Seconds later, Deniz Mehmet was playing a pass to Luke Bolton and up the other end the players charged. It had been Kerr Smith, unruffled and calm, who had sniffed out the danger first, gliding to the far side, lifting his head, and calmly picking out his goalkeeper. 

Glasgow Times: Florenti Hoti also impressed Florenti Hoti also impressed

This was just moments into the 16-year-old’s first start but in a snapshot his evening had been set and on a day where United were brushed aside in a ten minute Killie blitz, it was the visitors' cohort of youngsters - Archie Meekison, 18, and 20-year-old Florenti Hoti included - who emerged with all the credit. 

“For me, I was absolutely delighted with the players who played," said Mark Connolly, practically a veteran at 29. "Kerr, who played beside me, was fantastic. He’s 16 and it’s incredible. It’s the way the football club wants to go and to bring young players through. This boy’s ready.

“I remember being 16 and moving to Wolves and being in with the first team and then at 17 I moved to Bolton. 

Glasgow Times: Archie Meekinson came off the bench for his first United appearance Archie Meekinson came off the bench for his first United appearance

“You realise how well these boys have done against experienced players. They have done very, very well.

“Young Archie came on and was brilliant. That’s the way I am looking at it. We stuck to the way we wanted to play. 

"I feel like an old man. I’m 29 now and I am thinking to myself that I am the oldest in the team by a good few years."