Premiership Match 38, Rugby Park, May 19th 2019
No. of Shots
Shots on Target
|Goals||Burke 9, Brophy 89 (Pen).||
MacDonald, (MacKay 68), O'Donnell , Broadfoot, Findlay, Taylor, Power Dicker, Mulumbu, (McAleny 80), Burke, (Millar 80), Brophy, McKenzie,
Subs Not Used: Bruce, K Boyd, Waters, Tshbola.
Allan Auld @ Rugby Park
After only 553 days, back-to-back Manager of the Year awards and a second successive top six finish, Steve Clarke called time on his remarkable Kilmarnock reign.
That he did so with the dramatic win that sealed Killie’s first third place finish in 53 YEARS seemed almost written in the stars.
Not since 1966 have the Ayrshire men finished best of the rest in Scotland.
They did so securing European football for the first time in 18 years.
That Clarke has achieved it all in a miraculous 19 month spell in charge is why he’ll today put pen to paper on a deal to become Scotland boss.
Serving the first of a two match touchline ban he watched as Chris Burke (above) fire the home side in front.
He shifted nervelessly in his seat as Alfredo Morelos became the first Rangers player in ten years to hit 30 goals for the season.
But he was left leaping for joy two minutes from time as Eammon Brophy held his nerve from the penalty spot to ensure Killie ended their league campaign unbeaten against Gers.
Killie picked up two home wins, and two away draws against Sevco in season 2018-19. The 10 points Rangers dropped to Killie certinly cost them the League, as Celtic would go on and get "Eight in a Row".
When Clarke took charge of Killie on October 14, 2017, they were bottom of the table with disheartened fans drifting away in their droves.
Already this season they’ve broken last year’s points tally with last week’s home crowd against Hibs up almost 2,500 on his first game in charge.
Steve Clarke: “I think it is an important day this, on the last day of the season, a record points total, the first time since 1966 we have finished in the top three. We have gone better than last season and while the manager seems to get the credit I couldn’t do anything without my staff. Without the players, this football club doesn’t operate. Because these guys have been absolutely magnificent over the past 20 months. They have to do it on the pitch and they had to do it today because we wanted to finish third. We didn’t want Aberdeen to be third, we didn’t want to rely on Hibs doing something. We wanted to do it ourselves here, on our pitch. This is our pitch, this is Kilmarnock. We have the best owner I have ever come across in football (Billy Bowie). And remember, I worked for Mr Abramovich. But the most important thing in any football club in the world is the supporters.
When I came here, we didn’t have so many. We had a disconnect between the support, the board, the players. There was no togetherness. I said when I came in that together we are stronger. In my time at Kilmarnock Football Club, I’m sorry I didn’t win you a trophy. I am telling you now, as I stand here in front of three stands of Kilmarnock supporters – bye, bye Rangers and next season I’m sure it will be bye, bye Celtic as well.
This is Kilmarnock.!! This belong to you. This is the most important thing. I said no trophy but I take this – this is my trophy. Thank you.”
Alex Dyer: “It was a brilliant game, great to be part of it. I was gutted for the gaffer that he couldn’t be there, but it was a good moment, Everyone played their part today, not just the players – everyone around the club. crowd was great today. It’s a big improvement compared to when we first came in. I think our first game was against Hibs on a cold Halloween night: there weren’t many people there.
The fans have bought into what we were doing. I hope we’ve made it so that they can enjoy their weekends again. I think they know how much effort the lads put in. The rules that we’ve laid down is you run, work hard and do everything you can for this football club.
It’s been an outstanding 21 months. I came up here an old boy who had lost his way a little bit, then I came up here for the football and it gave me that drive. The lads have been really refreshing, they come in with a desire to win and work hard every day.”
Eamonn Brophy: “There is pressure in every penalty but there was added pressure on that one. I knew I had to score. There were only a couple of minutes left and I was thinking, ‘Don’t miss. I just picked a corner and that was it. I wasn’t changing my mind. The keeper dived the right way and got a hand to it.
My heart was in my mouth when he went that way, although thankfully I got enough pace on it. It was a huge sense of relief. I just knew I had to hit the net. The feeling is something you can’t describe. It is just an amazing feeling to clinch a place in Europe. We knew coming into the game we needed three points.
If we didn’t finish third then it would still have been a great season, but to do it is incredible for the club. When the manager came here, we were bottom of the league and struggling.
The turnaround has been unbelievable. It is a credit to him and his coaching staff. He has made me a much better player. When I joined here, European football didn’t even come into my mind. It was something I didn’t think of, so it is a credit to the whole club that we’ve got it. There are exciting times ahead.”
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