The Facts, The Figures...The Fantasy!
Aug 14th 2014... The new season is upon us and it looks for the most part like a different team as well. Pre-season as per usual was no more than glorified training matches so the results did not mean a lot but we did get to cross a few more grounds off the list at Shrewsbury and Morecambe. A point away at Dundee (or anywhere) in the opening match was acceptable but Aberdeen, with many more competitive games under their belt this season, were too strong for us on the new synthetic pitch in our first home match at the Theatre of Pies. We bounced back well at Dingwall though and already we are starting to look a lot more cohesive as a unit than last year, which will hopefully improve as time goes on and we find a suitable formation to accommodate all our best players…of which we now have a few. With some good luck and some better football this could be the year we bounce back, keep your fingers crossed.
Aug 26th 2014... Another good result this week and another decent performance from the team. With Slater and Ngoo sidelined through injury there were inevitably changes in the line up that started the game against Motherwell, but it did not prove to be detrimental to our game. Young Muirhead was brought in and for once played in position, up front...which resulted in a peach of a goal. I did not quite get how we moved him wide right in the second half. Still, he got the man of the match award and hopefully keeps his place for next week. Mark O'Hara was also brought on as a substitute in his best position as well...things are looking different, and looking up. Still work to be done of course, we were lumping the ball up the middle to Josh too much in the second half which allowed ‘Well to get the better of us at times. In my opinion both full backs were being drawn out of position too often, especially on the right hand side, but these are teething problems that we will hopefully get over.
Sept 2nd 2014... From the minute the whistle blew I was playing guess the formation, the back five were self explanatory but I don’t think the six from the midfield forward knew where they were meant to be playing either and struggled to link up. Despite that, we did not fare too badly until we lost a goal. Inverness were no great shakes and had we played to our strengths we could have taken at least a point. I put that down to us having a far better quality squad than we did last season. We are going to have to find a formation which suits our players and get our own game plan sorted before trying to counter the opposition; and if we want goals we will have to either start Muirhead alongside Magennis, Miller or Ngoo…or play one up front with Losa supporting. It wasn't pretty to watch and it was a long journey home, but I wouldn't get too despondent about our chances of a decent season just yet. Things could be better, but they could be much worse!
Sept 10th 2014... We had a few players away on international duty this week with Rory and Robbie on Scotland duty and Josh and Sammy away with Northern Ireland…I know the Scots boys got game time but I think Sammy was injured and Magennis never got on. Off the park it was the club legends whom were making their mark as the inaugural Hall of Fame dinner took place at that hotel we used to own. The inductees were the club founders, Willie Culley, Mattha Smith, the 64-65 Squad and Staff, Hughie Allan MBE and Alan Robertson. All were deserving of their nominations and quote of the night has to go to Tommy McLean, flanked by Ronnie Hamilton and Andy King, who said “I was a young player when I left Kilmarnock, but Kilmarnock never left me”. Darryl Westlake, who trialled at Morecambe in pre-season, will join the squad for Saturday’s home match against the Buddies as competition for young Ross Barbour.
Sept 24th 2014... The Shortlees Thunderbolt replaced Ngoo up front for the outing at league leaders Hamilton and put in a decent shift, though both he and Magennis lacked service from the midfield. The game never really got going, but teams cancelling each other out are often a problem in these top of the table clashes! A clean sheet and a point away from home is perfectly acceptable and most would have settled for that beforehand. Eremenko was finally started in the midweek cup tie but saw red as the referee once again tried to prove there is no bias towards his dad’s old team. It was not all down to McLean of course, as St Johnstone proved the better team on the night. Time for a tactical re-think, the wingers are producing nothing of note, I would like to see Slater, Losa and Muirhead all start and for the gaffer to build around them.
Sept 30th 2014... We started against Partick with the same formation we lined up in the previous week’s cup defeat so the 3-0 win came as a bit of a surprise. Glasgow’s second biggest team were struggling with injuries and are not world beaters at the best of times, but you have to hand it to our lads for taking advantage and wrapping up the points in a professional display. Don’t get me wrong, as a whole I think we can play much better; the talent is there, I just think tactically we are not at our best. We set out with wide players and rarely do anything in those areas, I don’t think Tope kicked a ball for the most part and yet scored two goals, there’s just no legislating for that! It’s not that we’re never happy, I was delighted, but football fans are never satisfied, we always want more. Eremenko was outstanding again and Mark Connolly has proved to be an astute signing, Friday night will be a real test for both, you don’t want to miss this.
Oct 7th 2014... All of a sudden our point away at Hamilton looks like a great result as they go top of the league and we win at home again to stay fourth; just three points behind the unlikely leaders. Dundee United were our latest scalps in a match that was moved to Friday night to be televised. I have to say that I quite like that time as opposed to a Sunday match, provided the away team do not have an excessive distance to travel. Eremenko once again proved his value to the team with an outstanding display while Tope was clever enough to grab another goal despite an unfortunate first touch. The second goal was a bullet header from Mark Connolly who is fast proving to be as an astute signing as well as our Finnish/Russian midfield maestro. It is great for the fans to see how much scoring means to him; only Pasca can match him for passion!
Oct 14th 2014... The international break always seems to come at a bad time for us, just getting into our stride then a fortnight with no game. Instead I watched the Scotland Under 19’s match online with interest as the Shortlees Thunderbolt was in the squad. Sure enough he started against Norway, and although it was a draw leaving Scotland waiting on other results to qualify, young Robbie scored a screamer into the top corner from all of 40 yards with that formidable left foot of his. He had promised his mum a goal for her 40th birthday that weekend and he certainly delivered with aplomb! On one hand I’m thinking, what an absolute peach of a goal, surely the gaffer will now heed my campaign to give the lad a start again. On the other I’m hoping that YouTube throws a wobbly so scouts or managers of other teams gets to see it! Contract extensions for all our young talent like Muirhead should now be a priority for our board.
Oct 21st 2014... From memory it was around four years (3-0 Nov 2010) ago we last took any more than a point from a trip to Perth so I was not holding out much hope this time, especially after hearing that Eremenko was sidelined with injury. It looked as if my fears were founded when Saints took the lead from what has since turned out to be a dodgy decision, although I have to admit I thought it was over the line at the time. This new look Killie are no longer certainties to lose after conceding a goal though and Josh Magennis delighted the fans with a headed brace in a short spell that could have seen him claim the match ball, an apt reward for the effort he puts in. It was also pleasing to see the players have not been affected by the bonus row, I’m not saying for a minute that we should over spend our budget but the whole episode has been handled really badly.
Oct 28th 2014... With the team on a high we went into the game at Celtic Park on Sunday with a little less trepidation than usual; the 50 odd year monkey was off our backs and the home team have struggled at times of late. That should have set alarm bells ringing and was almost a guarantee that we would come away with nothing, and sure as fate that is exactly what we did get. We held our own up until Manuel Pascali blundered and was sent for an early bath, which was probably a fair decision, and the goal from the resultant free kick, and a follow up later, were enough to see the home side victorious on the day. The skip has had a much better season that I thought he would and we have to give him credit for that and acknowledge that it was a split second decision he got wrong and he will be hurting more than most. It says a lot about our season that we are so disappointed in losing 2-0 at Parkhead when down to ten men!
Nov 4th 2014... On paper it is going to look like we got thumped last Saturday, and to be honest we did for about 75 minutes, but in the end we were unlucky not to come away with a draw and an undeserved point. I cannot for the life of me give any of our players pass marks for the first half, we just did not look at the races at all. I am a fan of Ashcroft and hope that he goes onto be an even better player for us but the absence of Pascali seemed to have a detrimental effect to the team, and that subdued performance saw us leak two avoidable goals. The game turned around with the introduction of our only natural striker, Muirhead, and he carried more threat in the short time he was on than the rest of the team put together. Broken record alert…ditch the wide men system AJ, give Muirhead and Slater a run out please.
Nov 12th 2014... The advice to all you fixed odds coupon punters out there is avoid Killie games at all costs. In the space of a few weeks we have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous and it has left the fans scratching their heads. The home defeat to Ross County saw our worst performance of the season and it may well be that the ongoing bonus row is stating to have a negative effect on the pitch. Magennis is a lonely figure up front and if we play with a lone striker then we need to ensure that others make an effort to support him. The manager surely has to find a starting spot for both Robbie Muirhead and Craig Slater who must be getting frustrated with starting on the bench every week. The international break may just have come at a convenient time as we have an extra week to try and rediscover our earlier season form before a difficult trip to Tannadice.
Dec 3rd 2014... Madness played over the sound system after each goal scored in the cup match on Sunday…as far as I am concerned a result always seemed one step beyond Killie but the selected track should have been “Embarrassment”. I know we have a penchant for dropping our game to the level of lower league opponents, but this one was very hard to take. Our record against the Rangers now stands at played one, lost one, and barring a continuation of our current dreadful form our season is effectively over; we can but hope. We have persevered with Magennis and his lack of goals up front all season and brought on young Muirhead when chasing the game to try and salvage something; but when we do drop him the replacement is Miller who has not kicked a ball all season? Sorry but that doesn’t make sense to me, neither does persisting with wide players and then not utilising them. Eremenko deeper, Muirhead through the middle supported by Josh…the broken record continues.
Dec 9th 2014... I always say that any point away from home is a good one and I maintain that now; especially when it stopped us from recording six defeats in a row! Alan Johnston shuffled the pack again and it was Eremenko who had to cool his heels on the bench. No one player is above being dropped but I cannot help thinking that the Finn has suffered in recent weeks due to tactical ineptness and how the team has been set up at the start of games. This week we had Magennis out on the right wing, which paid off to an extent as he crossed in the ball which led to Miller’s shot from which Tope fired home from close range (right). He’s such a frustrating player at times, the heart of a mouse but can still find the net when the opportunity arises. The less said about the defending at the equaliser the better. It’s been over a month but its back to the Theatre of Pies on Saturday, here’s hoping that the fans find their way back and the team re-discovers their form.
Dec 16th 2014... There are plenty of talking heads at Rugby Park these days and while a few of them are simply repeating themselves, all of them appear to be on the road to nowhere. If Allan Johnston received a quid every time he uses the phrase “very disappointed” then he could afford to retire, which would please a lot of Killie fans no end the way things are going currently. As if you need reminding, in the last seven games we’ve won one point out of a potential eighteen and been knocked out of the Scottish Cup by a lower league team…the passport is well and truly back in the drawer. We have no excuses, the talent and skill is there, the tactics and motivation seem to be lacking though, could this be a knock on effect from the bonus row? Do the players think some directors are coining it in while they get fobbed off with excuses? Whatever the case, change has to come, although I doubt it will be the change that is really needed.
Dec 23rd 2014... I am reliably informed that a 142 Killie fans (though no board members) made an appearance at Pittodrie on Saturday, not including the team of course. That may be a bit unfair, we actually played quite well for most of the match but one mistake was enough to see us make the long trip home empty handed. I have maintained for weeks that we have the personnel on the books to be getting better results, we just need to play to our strengths more and that is not down the wings! The only thing lower than team morale at the moment is faith in the board to turn things to fix what is wrong at our beloved club, they seriously couldn’t run a menagerie. I hope Santa brings you all something nice this festive season and I hope for all Killie fans is that it begins with ‘g’ and ends in ‘oals’.
Dec 30th 2014... There is no doubt about it, our game against Hamilton was right up there with the worst we have seen this season, turgid right up until injury time when Eremenko’s deft free kick lifted the gloom and made the season festive again. It is amazing the boost an unexpected win and three points gives the players and the fans, the joy on the faces of both as Losa ran to the crowd was wonderful to behold…obviously worth a booking though. It must be one of the worst rules in the game; booking players for celebrating scoring just kills the atmosphere, as long as they are not antagonizing the opposition fans then what does it matter? I would go as far as to say that they should get booked if they don’t celebrate with their own fans! Football is a passionate game, the last thing we need is to make it more sterile and less of a spectator sport.
Jan 5th 2015... Our trip to Paisley was a real doozy but once again we managed to come away with three points. The first half was as bleak as the weather but the second half exploded with three penalties and a couple of red cards. It’s been a long, long time since our last penalty but last week’s hero Losa stepped up and made it count. Strangely enough Slater was given the second kick to take, maybe something to do with him having something to prove to the Buddies, and also put the ball in the net…but was then give a second yellow card and sent off for leaving the pitch to celebrate. What was I saying just last week about this kind of nonsense? All three spot kicks could be deemed soft, but all were legitimate in my eyes and we deserved to edge the game. Monday night was a different story, simple to say we were beaten by a team who were better in every department, it was no surprise to be fair but we should be competing in terms of fitness and determination at least…not surprised that the Celtic scorer wasn’t booked for doing the exact same as Slates!
Jan 12th 2015... Inverness have had a pretty decent season, but I will bet you that the 70 fans who travelled down with them to the Theatre of Pies never expected to be heading back up the A9 after going 1-0 down and losing a player in the process. In true snatching defeat from the jaws of victory style we managed to make a complete hash of things, to the extent that even Alan Johnston admitted later that he made a mess of one of the substitutions, and didn’t the fans let him know it as Eremenko’s number came up on the board. Such abuse is normally reserved for inept referees, but to be fair for the most part it was merited on this occasion. Until such times as we start playing to our strengths then we will never get a consistent run of good results; the same has to be said for our fortunes on and off the park. The fans are in revolt and swapping out the chairman and sacking a manager that we can’t afford to keep in current form is not going to be enough to paper over the cracks this time.
Jan 20th 2015... The good thing about the game (Well A) being called off at the weekend was that at least we couldn’t lose! I wish I could say that it will give our injured players more time to recover etc. but to be honest I’m not sure that will make any difference if AJ doesn’t get his act together soon. On a more positive note the Trust announced Tommy Adams has joined their board. The club’s loss is certainly the Trust’s gain as the contacts and the persistence of the Killie legend is phenomenal. In his first day he signed up sixteen ex-players to the Trust, and not just a token tenner, standing orders so that they are basically members for life. These guys know a thing or two about football and recognise the importance of fan involvement, it is a pity the same cannot be said for some of those running our club and our game, maybe we would have a lot more to be positive about.
Jan 27th 2015... Thistle just came off a great result and our manager shuffled the pack once again so making any kind of prediction was never going to be easy. The first half was duller than ditchwater but to be fair the second half proved to be a better spectacle and I think we should have edged it…but sadly we never. I cannot comment on the first goal as I was still outside the turnstile when the roar went up, the sad thing is I couldn’t tell which set of fans were celebrating. It was no surprise to learn that one of our least favourite opposition players had done the damage but at least we did not let the heads go down and fought our way back into the game. Sinner Pascali (He gave up the penalty at Dee in midweek) turned saint again with a decent display and a goal celebration which showed how much the club means to him, kudos as well goes to McKenzie for his performance, despite him getting stuck out on the wing again. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we have the players, we just have to get the tactics right.
Feb 3rd 2015... Just when you think it is safe because you have no game, Killie find a new way to kick you in the haw-maws! The Shortlees Thunderbolt has been sold for a reputed £150k to a league rival; virtually days after our manager claimed we needed a new striker…he flogs potentially the best one we had in the squad. Desperate for cash? It defies logic unless we are about to unveil some superstar striker that has been released by all other clubs because he’s so good it upsets the balance of their team. Aye right. We have also had confirmation that the worst kept secret in the world is about to happen as our ‘beloved’ chairman hands his title to Jim Mann in true “shuffling chairs on the Titanic” style. Unlike his predecessor Jim is a successful business man and has been a Killie fan all his days, putting a few quid into the club by way of sponsorship as well…I truly wish him all the luck in the world, he is going to need it if the change is as purely cosmetic as it appears.
Feb 10th 2015... It all kicked off during the week at a press conference when Allan Johnston decided to announce that he would be leaving at the end of the season. That surprised everyone, none more than our ‘beloved’ chairman who was out on the piste. We are not quite sure yet whether he has been sacked or whether he has resigned but Gary Locke got the nod to take on the job until the end of the season the following day so the magic show is now officially over…one less shiny distraction for the AGM. Whether Lockie can turn things around remains to be seen, certainly Saturday was too quick to expect anything revolutionary, but a point and a clean sheet away from home against Hamilton was a decent start. Saying that, apart from one outstanding save by Samson both teams could have played without goalies and the result would have been the same! Let’s see how we do next week against the Arabs, there is a lot still to play for and the club have announced a cracking initiative allowing kids free entry (with full paying adults) for the remainder of the season.
Feb 17th 2015... Gary Locke’s first game in charge at the Theatre of Pies got off to a bad start with star midfielder Eremenko giving away a penalty in the first few minutes, but all was not lost. Magennis got us back into the game with a shot that looked a lot cleverer in the highlights than it did at the time, not that we cared. We went behind again almost immediately and it took another trundler from Chris Johnston to set us up for a grandstand finish as Clingan secured all three points with a well-taken injury time free kick. To say the fans were pleased would be putting it mildly. Had we not won in the end it would still have ranked as one of the best games we have seen in a while, despite both defences looking suspect at times. If it is a sign of things to come from Locke then he may be in with a shout of keeping the job, but of course one swallow does not a summer make, there is plenty of time to make a decision on that. Check the Website for details of KFCSA player of the year dance tickets, available now.
Feb 24th 2015... Fighting and spirit are fast becoming the watch words of Gary Locke’s tenure as boss and credit to both him and his players for coming back three times to get a well deserved point from high-flying Inverness. It is far too soon to judge him at the moment but things are looking much better and if they continue in this vein, then there is no reason why the former player should not be considered for the job on a permanent basis, only time will tell. On a sadder note is the news of Andy King’s passing. A true Killie legend in every term of the word, and a real gentleman. Andy was one of the best and will always be remembered with great affection by all who knew him. With a club record 21 appearances in Europe, he was hard as nails when it counted but skilful, hard working, fair and as genuine as they come...it is sadly ironic that his passing should happen on the anniversary of our league win but it will be a timely reminder of the respect in which he was held and we can only hope that will be of some comfort to his family and friends.
Mar 3rd 2015... Another point away from home and another clean sheet, despite the loss of Connolly for the season, kept Lockie’s job application on track at the weekend. I always maintain that I am happy with any point away from home but it is even more pleasing to see that at Perth as they have been a bit of a bogey team for us up there of late. The players seem to be dropping like flies at the moment and there is some chat about the new pitch being to blame but I think we should debunk that theory as statistics prove that you are no more or less likely to get injured on a synthetic pitch than you are on a real one…that said of course it may be a bit tougher on older players who have recurring injuries and are not as used to the new surface. It was good to see Ashcroft back albeit a tad early due to circumstances and hopefully we can get Losa starting again soon to provide some ammunition for the forward players.
Mar 10th 2015... The state of the Motherwell pitch last weekend must have made a few of the doubters think twice about our own synthetic one. Although still struggling with injuries we managed to put in another decent performance and remain undefeated under the caretaker boss. Tope does not seem to do ordinary goals and a rocket shot from the winger put us ahead in the first half; only for us to be pegged back when Westlake was send packing for two bookable offences in two minutes and the home team scored from the resultant free kick. The right back has seemed a bit rash at times but statistics show that he is not a persistent offender so we have to give him the benefit of the doubt. AGM notices went out this week and we learned that Richard Cairns was appointed as a director via the CEB (good guy, nonsense board), David Moran has resigned and the revenue from the Sports Bar has been discontinued. I sincerely hope that pertinent shareholder’s questions are not fobbed off again this year.
Mar 18th 2015... Hospitality was sold out for the St Mirren game, mainly due to the match sponsorship, which was in memory of 20/20 stalwart Houston McFadzean and there was nearly eighty of his friends there suited and booted and rocking the Park Suite. We were told it was the best atmosphere for a long time and that was from club legend Monty who was up on a table at one point after the game giving Paper Roses laldy! With defender Chantler out Barbour was tried on the left with O’Hara doing well at right back as both teams kept clean sheets in the first half. Chris Johnston put in a man of the match performance but the goal only came in the last few minutes when Magennis, wide right after Losa went off injured, fed a great ball in to Lee Miller who slotted home his first goal for the club and sent the home fans into raptures. The sceptic in me is still hesitant to commit but many are already convinced that Lockie deserves to be offered the job on a permanent basis.
Mar 25th 2015... Dingwall proved to be where Gary Locke’s run of good form came to an end as the on-form County side sent us home pointless. To be brutally honest we were never really in the game up until our substitutes came on and we had a ten-minute flurry that resulted in a goal by big Ashcroft who threw himself at a low ball to head home from a yard out. It was all too late of course as bad defensive lapses had seen us down by two…and had Craig Samson not pulled off a string of quality saves things could have been a hell of a lot worse. It was a long journey home but after recent results no one was too downhearted. You can’t win every game and just like we shouldn’t judge Lockie on a few decent performances, we shouldn’t write him off after one bad one. The club has been right to take their time on deciding what to do about the managerial vacancy, but I have a feeling that some sort of announcement will be made at the AGM on Thursday. Shiny, shiny and all that!
Mar 31st 2015... There was no football action this week but it was still all going on of the park with the Supporters’ Association player of the year dance on Saturday night. There were legends in abundance attending and with the 50th anniversary of our league win to celebrate, the committee, who did a great job, managed to get a hold of all three domestic trophies that we’ve won. For those South of Symington I mean ‘real’ trophies. The awards went to Mark Connolly for player of the year, Rory Mackenzie for Young player of the year, Alexi Eremenko for goal of the season and fan of the year award went to life-saving hero Kevin Scoular. Also in attendance was new Chairman Jim Mann (right) who impressed those gathered with his vision for the future, and if he delivers what he says he wants to then I am sure that he will get the support he needs from everyone. It is true that Captain Calamity, as he was referred to by a recently departed board member, is still involved and a major shareholder…but he no longer wields operational control so we should hopefully now get to see what can be done when our leader is in it for the good of the club and not just himself.
Apr 7th 2015... I would like to start by congratulating Gary Locke on his appointment as our latest full time manager. Three years is a generous contract in this day and age, hopefully Lockie can repay the board’s faith in him with improved on field performances. He could have done without our defeat in Dingwall being followed by another pointless game against Motherwell, but injuries and suspensions have really started to take their toll. Despite having to field a make shift side we performed reasonably well in the first half, which proved entertaining for both sets of fans. The new manager was confident enough to start 17-year-old Syme at centre half alongside fellow youngster Ashcroft, surprisingly made captain for the day, and he looked up to the task for the most part. Sadly there were times when we just allowed the visitors too much room and it cost us a couple of goals and ultimately the game. Plenty to be positive about though and hopefully when we see the likes of Losa, Sammy and Slates return we should fare better in terms of team balance, creativity and goals.
Apr 14th 2015... Despite the fact we have not been playing that badly things are not looking to bright at the moment as we slip to a third defeat on the bounce with the champions elect to face this midweek. All of a sudden last year’s catastrophic run that Hibs went on is coming to mind and those who brushed off the prospect of us getting sucked back in to the basement battle are having to think again. You can have the best marketing team in the world but if all the results are not going your way then it is very difficult to halt the slide and start things going on an upward trajectory again. It was never going to be easy to lure back the fans who have drifted away for various reasons over the last few years and current results are just making things harder for Jim Mann and his board. Anything from Parkhead will be a bonus, but we need to start beating the teams around us and getting some more points on the board and fast.
Apr 22nd... The run of defeats continued as unsurprisingly we lost our midweek trip to Celtic Park, although to be fair we have proved in the past, as Inverness just did, that getting a result against them is possible. We once again fielded a team littered with youngsters, especially at the back, and managed to hold our own for a fair portion of the game…even scoring first to put the wind up them. That only served to rile them though and substitute Griffiths, with a point to prove to his manager, went to town and finished us off. All the talk this week has been about the post split fixtures and how for the second time we are being given only 18 homes games with season ticket holders cheated out of a match by the SPFL bigwigs. Not only that but the club asked specifically for next Saturday to be a home game to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our league win…and that has been roundly ignored as well. We don’t even have to be playing to feel hard done by these days!
Apr 28th 2015... I probably won’t be the only fan mentioning ‘squeaky bum time’ this week but I would still rather be in our position that Motherwell’s despite the fact we couldn’t buy a win at the moment. Five defeats on the bounce is only one bad game away from our worst run ever so I’m told, certainly not the kind of start we, or the manager himself, were anticipating for sure. Now is not the time for finger pointing though, we are all in this together and whether you wanted the appointment or not we have to get behind the team for the remaining games and make sure that come the end of the season we retain our top division status. Lockie (is that a £10 fine?) will be hurting as well and he has to prove now that he has what it takes to be in that dugout representing the mighty Killie…time to kick some butt Gary and I’d also start thinking about building a team around Eremenko as he is by far the best ‘baller at the Theatre of Pies.
May 5th 2015... We have now equalled the record of the worst run of defeats in our history and should we lose at Motherwell on Friday night the team will officially be the worst Killie side in living memory. How in the hell did that happen? I’ve seen far worse squads in my time; surely we can muster at least a point at Fir Park? There were wise words from Eremenko in the media following our collapse against Hamilton, maybe we should be giving him the captain’s armband as well as building the team around him. Individually there is undoubtedly talent in the squad, but they lack organisation and motivation and our new gaffer could do worse than look to our Finnish international for help. Too many players are out of their comfort zones and we are putting ourselves at a disadvantage before a ball is even kicked. Barbour and Westlake are not left backs, if we have no one at all to fill in for Chantler when he is injured then that has to be addressed. O’Hara is not a right back, his best position is as a defensive central midfielder but we are inundated with them already. The same goes for Pasca, an able deputy in defence when necessary but doesn’t have what it takes to play there permanently. Several managers have said that played in front of the back four he will win every ball in the air, and if he makes a mistake there then there is someone behind him to cover. Johnston and Tope are better through the middle, as is Mackenzie who would do great buzzing around a main striker (if we had one); in fact the only player I’d start wide is Kiltie who can’t seem to get in the starting eleven! Mind you, what do I know? I think that Gary Locke has a huge job in the summer if he is going to bring some balance to the squad. We lack players in key positions and if the budget is getting reduced again it will be nigh impossible to get the cover and depth we need to see us through next season. We have to abandon the policy of signing ‘journeymen’ players just because they have a half decent track record and start looking further afield for guys who can cover the areas in which we lack and challenge for a first team berth. We also have to start giving more of our youth players a sustained run in the team to prove themselves, and if they don’t cut it then so be it, we look for a replacement. First and foremost though we have to pull out all the stops to get a result on Friday, get along if you can and show the players that we are up for a battle and so should they be.
May 12th 2015... We’ve gone from a potentially safe position to being right in the thick of the race to get away from the play-off spot. While technically it is still in our own hands, our form would suggest that we are favourites to lose out. Apparently we’ve never lost seven games on the bounce before, but records are there to be broken and sadly, having witnessed our defending at Fir Park, it looks like we could extend that bad run. Fitness allowing we should have Jamie Hamill in at right back with Ashcroft and Connelly in the centre and Liddington at left back, just because he’s a left back, novel approach I know. With Pasca or O’Hara sitting in front of the back four we should at least have a bit more solidity at the back to open things up further up the park…which has to include Losa and Kiltie. The club, KFCSA and Trust are all chipping in to pay for the fans buses this Saturday, please try and make sure you are on one!
May 20th 2015... There were a lot of relieved faces at Firhill come the final whistle on Saturday as Killie secured all three points with a resounding win over an already safe Partick side. It was a magnificent effort by everyone at the club and I include the fans in that with over 1200 travelling on the free buses provided by the Trust, KFCSA and the club itself. Things looked up from the outset with both Kiltie and Eremenko getting the nod to start, and although the Finn was too far forward for my liking, he was still instrumental in all four of our goals. Just think how much more he could offer in a deeper, more controlling role! Therein lies the next test for new gaffer Gary Locke…persuading our maverick midfielder that next season we will be following the chairman’s edict and trying to play more “the Killie way” and that he will play a pivotal role. We need someone with the swagger of Losa to attract fans back, the queues for season tickets on Sunday are testament to that.
May 27th 2015... To paraphrase Elliot’s Hollow Men…this is the way the season ends, not with a bang but a whimper. Killie took the lead through the ever blossoming Kiltie in our last game at the Theatre of Pies, but Ross County hit back with a double and took all three points and an estimated £40k for the league place with them back to Dingwall. In terms of hard cash that is going to cost us a couple of players next season, and with more releases than the Beatles this week we are going to have to spread the net far and wide to try and get sufficient quality and depth to carry us through another year. It’s been a tough few weeks but we have no choice other than to look ahead and hope that when Locke gets to build his own team that they are an improvement on what we’ve seen this time around. Let’s thank the football gods we survived and try to be positive about the future, we are certainly due some luck.
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