Jan 2nd 2019: (On the team trying to replicate their 2018 feats in the new year) "To replicate it, we’ll need to keep this squad of players together and continue to work hard. The harder you work, sometimes the luckier you get. I’ve got good players here, they know how to win games – they score goals, they defend well but we don’t get carried away. We’ve got little targets that we’re going to keep trying to reach over the second half of this season and hopefully we can do at least as well as last year if not a little bit better."
Dec 30th on Greg Stewart: "I knew I was getting a talent when we got Greg but I think he’s surpassed himself. He’s been really good for us, we’ve found a good position for him and a good way to play which suits his game. It’s making Greg look good and it’s also helping us – it’s great for both parties. Every single loan deal has a recall option in January. It’s up to Birmingham but they’ve shown no sign that they are going to ask Greg back. His contract is up at the end of the season so I’d imagine a lot of it will come down to what Greg wants to do and I know he’s very happy here."
Dec 29th on the Buddies Post-Match: "It was nice to win, it would have been nicer to do it a little bit more comfortably. It’s difficult when you play these teams who are scrapping for points. We had the game won after 15 minutes or whatever it was at 2-0 up. We switched off from a set play, which disrupted our rhythm a little bit but by the end of the first half I thought we had it back again. In the second half, we bossed the game pretty much for the whole 45. A club like Kilmarnock, we have to be flexible and understand that if someone comes in with a big bid for one of our players then we'd probably have to accept it. I'm going to turn my phone off for four weeks so they're going to have a job getting hold of me."
A total of 7,131 including 1,002 visiting supporters took in the festive game at Rugby Park: "It was great to see them back. I said to Alex Dyer a few weeks ago that if we didn’t get close to 7,000 for this game with the run that we’re on then we were in a little bit of trouble so it was great to see the punters turning up. They’ve been turning up in big numbers away from home, they’ve been tremendous. Like you say 7,000 is a great effort and long may it continue. I haven’t brought them back; the players have brought them back with their performances on the pitch. The players deserve all the credit, not me. It’s been a good year for the club, we’ve come a long way from the bottom of the Scottish Premiership last October so we’ve done ok. - Match Recap -
Dec 26th on the Well Post-Match: "I'm pretty sure Jordan will tell you it was shot, As soon as it left his boot, [assistant manager] Alex Dyer said to me 'that's a goal'. Jordan said he saw the keeper a little bit off his line and curled it to the back post. Whether it's a shot or a cross is pretty irrelevant really. We were wasteful in the second half. I thought we should have had a few more. The only disappointment for me was that we didn't capitalise on the chances that we created second half. We should have made it a much more comfortable afternoon for the old manager sitting on the bench. We defend well as a team, we break well at the right time. We just missed that little bit of quality to be a bit more clinical. Even when it was 11 against 11 we created enough to see the game off. That's the only negative but four points from two difficult away games is a good return. This is always a hard place to come and obviously circumstances went against Motherwell - three head knocks is very unusual and best wishes go to the three players involved. I hope they are back playing quickly." - Match Recap -
Dec 22nd on the Accies Post-Match: "For me the biggest measure of progress was that Hamilton and their supporters celebrated at the end of the game. It was a home point against Kilmarnock and they celebrated it as if they had taken points off one of the Old Firm. I said to the lads after the game maybe people are holding us in a different light now so we have to be ready for those challenges. We started ok, got in front and should have done a little bit better and probably got a second goal, which would have killed the game off and then Hamilton do what they do well. They stay in the game and make it a scratchy, broken game with lots of free kicks and the referee didn’t help. I thought he’d swallowed his whistle at one stage because it went off so often. Too many free kicks broke up the rhythm of the game and suited them more than it suited us. At the start of the game, we were the better team. We passed the ball well and moved with one and two touches but the niggly fouls breaks up the flow of the game and it ended up suiting Hamilton more than it did for us. We had enough decent chances in the game to get the second goal which would have given us the three points."
Over 2,200 Killie fans made the trip to Lanarkshire: "The travelling support have been fantastic for us and you heard them from the first minute to the last minute today and the team give loads to shout about. At the end of the game the crowd are getting excited and they were trying to suck the ball into that net. We were the only team trying to win the game in the last 15 minutes but the supporters have been great for us. They’ll probably go home a little bit disappointed tonight but they shouldn’t be. At the end of the season we’ll know if that was a good point or a bad point." - Match Recap -
Dec 15th on the Dee Post-Match: "Thirty-four points after 18 games is a really good points-per-game return and if we can continue that until the end of the season then we'll finish with somewhere between 60 and 70 points, which would be a remarkable achievement. It was a good win and it was important to bounce back immediately after the disappointment of last week. We probably dropped our standards a little bit last week and we were punished for it heavily by a good team. I didn’t say too much at half time to be honest. I thought the first half was a little bit open, we conceded too many chances and we put that right in the second half and defended well. "It took a scrappy little goal to get us in front but once we did then we never looked back. Once the game opened up properly, we could sit in and we played some terrific stuff as we found that space in midfield. It was a very good win. It helps when you have consistency in the squad. I can play Rory McKenzie, Scott Boyd and Kris Boyd. " - Match Recap -
Dec 8th on the Celtic Post-Match: "Celtic were very good – very, very good. They started quicker than is and got their noses in front. We then lost our shape a little bit and our discipline too. But Celtic looked more alert right from the off. That probably has something to do from the fact that they had seven fresh players and we’re going to the well with the same players. It was especially difficult for my back four. I thought our two full-backs looked a little bit jaded and both of them played into the middle of June with the Scotland teams. Stuart Findlay also dragged himself off the treatment table without any training this week. He said he would play to try and help the team so we thank him. I also asked big Scott Boyd after the game how long ago he played three games in a week and he couldn’t tell me, so that’s how long ago was. That made it difficult for us, but take nothing away from Celtic. With the make-up of our squad we have to rely on our players and it was unfortunate for us to have this game after two great results for us against Hibs and Livingston."
Killie now host Dundee before away trips to Hamilton and Motherwell before finishing off at home v St Mirren.
"Those are the games we have to win if we’re going to be competitive at the top of the table. It was just unfortunate we had to come here for our third game in a week. But we will learn our lessons and make sure next time we come back here we do a little bit better. Like I told to the lads afterwards, these games are not season defining for us. Games against Celtic and Rangers away don’t define our season. It’s against teams of similar stature to Kilmarnock that’ll decide whether we are competitive in the top half or not. This one is a sore one to take because it’s difficult to lose a game like that but we’ll learn lessons and recover." - Match Recap -
Dec 7th on the Celtic Pre-Match: "The most important thing for Kilmarnock as a football club, and probably as a town as well, is we have given a little bit of pride back to the area, The club is in a better place now than it was 14 months ago. That's the most important thing. The rest of the chat about top of the league, great runs and great calendar years, is really quite irrelevant. It's the fact that supporters look forward to come and watch the team, that's the important thing. Obviously I know a lot of people in the area who are happy just now. There's many Kilmarnock fans who are, not living the dream, but dreaming about the possibility that we can do great things. They're allowed to do that, they are supporters. We have to allow them to dream, we have to allow them to think about crazy things. We have to keep our feet on the ground. Difficult game (Saturday), and all I look for is we meet our own high standards. And if we do that, you never know. It's always good going to the big stadiums, playing against the big teams, and trying to prove that we can be competitive with them. The only ask I put on my players is to play as well as they can play. If they do that and it's good enough to get a positive result, then great. It's always going to be difficult, You only have to look at the last seven trophies that were up for grabs since Brendan (Rodgers) came to Celtic - Celtic have won them all. So it's going to be difficult. What has happened this year, it seems to be a little more competitive. We get to December and we are lucky enough to be top of the table just now. Hearts have been top, Rangers have been top, obviously Celtic have been top. It seems to be more competitive but there's still a lot of games to go and still time for the so-called bigger clubs to pull away."
Dec 5th on the Livi Post-Match: "It’s nice for the supporters, they’ll enjoy tonight looking at the league table. For us, it is another three points. It probably wasn’t our best performance in the second half but three good points against a difficult opponent. I’ve got such an honest bunch of players that they are a little bit like me and the feeling I got in the dressing room was that they were a little bit disappointed with their second half performance tonight. They’ll look at the table and realise that if you work hard and you’re a good group of players then you’ll pick up points in this league and sometimes you get quite close to the summit. But like I said before nobody here is getting carried away with themselves. We’ve still got an awful lot of work to do here. At the first goal they will be disappointed that it came from a corner kick but it was a good delivery and good movement from Greg in the box. I liked the second goal, they tend to get a lot of bodies in the box from deep free kicks and we caught them on the counter attack, which is something we spoke about before the game. From our point of view, it’s a good goal to score against an opponent who put a lot of bodies forward into the box. Greg (Stewart) has been really good for us. He probably took a gamble coming back to Scotland but if works out well for Greg and for Kilmarnock then everyone can be happy." - Match Recap -
Dec 1st on the Hibs Post-Match: "I thought we were good, first half especially. Neil Lennon came with a little bit of a different side but we got the early goal and that was crucial. Second half, we invited them on a little bit. If we'd have been a little bit more clinical we could've had a bigger scoreline. Hopefully the performance will get more of the headlines than the lights because I thought we were terrific today, from start to finish. I thought the defenders were excellent and that's three clean sheets in a row. That's a big part as well as the goal scorers coming back. I think there would have been a problem if the lights had gone off for a third time. When they go off you have to let the system cool and then trip them back in. I don’t think the referee would have let them on again so the last 25 minutes were a little more nervous than usual. I think the stoppages actually disrupted us a little bit more than Hibs because they are chasing the game and so have nothing to lose. We couldn't find a proper rhythm in the second half that we had in the first half so it was nice to get the third goal. I'm not going to grumble with 3-0 win against a good Hibs team." -Match Recap-
Nov 30th on the Hibs Pre-Match: "It's always nice to have a home game. It's been a month since we played here at Rugby Park so that'll be good. It's a good Hibs team. I know they're not on their best run at the moment but they're always a dangerous team. They always play an open game and very attacking. We've had some great matches against Hibs but unfortunately in my time we haven't come out on top yet. It's an important time of year, a big month. December was a good month for us last year and if we can replicate that then it would be great. The more players you have fit and available for selection the better and three games in a week is always tough but we think we have the squad to be able to manage it. The forwards have been good, Kris Boyd played the last two games and has done very well. Obviously earlier in the season Greg Stewart and Eamonn Brophy were doing well for us as a partnership and that was broken up firstly through Eamonn's injury and Greg's suspension. It's been a while since we had those two together again, I'm not sure it'll be this weekend but hopefully in the coming games we get a chance to see that one back in action."
Nov 24th on the Saints Post-Match: “I think we probably shaded the game but the only thing I would say is we didn’t do enough in the final third. We got into good positions but the final ball wasn’t quick enough and we didn’t work the goalkeeper enough. When we did work him he made a hell of a save, although Tommy will point to the one they hit the post with. I think both teams showed what they’re good at, the disappointment for us is we didn’t make the most of the positions we got into. What St Johnstone do is they sit in a low block and double up on your dribblers when you have the ball. They defended well, they have six clean sheets in a row now so it shows they are doing something right.”
Killie had a shout for a penalty in the second half when Kris Boyd claimed he was manhandled by Joe Shaughnessy.: “I will leave it to the guys on television to look at it and say we should have had a penalty. From where I was standing it looked as though he was wrestled to the ground and on another day we could have got it. The referees are there to make those decisions and you just have to get on with it, but it was a decent shout.” - Match Recap -
Nov 23rd on the Saints Pre-Match: "St Johnstone are on a great run with five wins in a row and without conceding a goal so they've reacted very well to the heavy defeat they had against Celtic. They've pushed up right behind us in the table so two good teams should make for a good game. We will concentrate on ourselves. Everyone is pointing out St Johnstone's great run but we haven't done too badly ourselves. The last away game was a really difficult one at Tynecastle and not many teams go there and win but we managed to do that. We go there with positivity and good confidence and looking to get another positive result for the club."
Nov 16th on the Eve of the Kris Boyd Testamonial: “Since I have been at Kilmarnock Kris has been absolutely crucial for me. The first conversation we had was not a particularly good one because he told me he wanted to stop playing. It was after my very first training session. My first sessions are usually pretty good and enjoyable so the guys think, ‘this guy is all right!’ But he came in to see me in all his gear, plonked himself down in the chair in front of me and said, ‘That’s it, gaffer I’m quitting!’ I said, ‘Kris I’ve just walked in the door. You can’t quit! I managed to persuade him to give me a few weeks and a few games just to see if he enjoyed training and the way I worked. How resolute was he in that conversation that he wanted to leave? He obviously wasn’t 100 per cent resolute because I managed to persuade him to give me time to show him how I worked. So that was how our relationship started but I was happy with how it finished. I was confident I could get the best out of him. I think he was probably worried that I would be coming here to chuck him out because everybody looks at Kris and thinks: ‘he’s not fit enough, he can’t do this and he can’t do that. But I was only looking at what Kris Boyd CAN do. When you are on a spell out of work the things you notice is who scores all the goals because you’re sat in front of the TV. So before I took over at Kilmarnock I’d seen Kris Boyd’s name popping up regularly on Jeff Stelling’s Soccer Saturday programme on Sky. He is a goalscorer who always scores goals. Kris also probably felt a bit bad at the sacking of Lee McCulloch because Lee is a friend of his and maybe he didn’t see the team improving the way it did. And it’s only natural when you get to that age that you think about finishing up. But I knew that if we could create chances for Kris then he would score goals. And that’s exactly how it turned out. He can make a big contribution again this season and if he does that then maybe there’s another season in it for him. As long as he keeps working as hard as he’s working then there’s no reason why not. He’s a senior player and he takes that role and responsibility seriously.
It’s been different this season because he’s found his way back on to the bench and out of the team. I can imagine Kris Boyd five years ago would not have been a very happy bunny at sitting on the bench. I can imagine him going to the manager and saying he should be playing because of what he has done in his career. But he has not done that for me. He has been very respectful. He’s worked ever so hard in training - probably the hardest he has ever worked. He knows his role has changed. He needs to be ready to come on for the last 15-20 minutes when we need that physical presence up front. He’s started the last couple of games and he gives us a different physical presence to Eamonn Brophy. Brophy is more agile and gets around the pitch a bit better but Kris gives us that physical element, which is very important for us. As much as he has mellowed in terms of not banging the manager’s door down,
On his goal celebration taunting Aberdeen fans who relentlessly goaded him about his weight: “I didn’t see the celebration until afterwards. It came at the end of a week with a lot of negative aspects around Scottish football but for Kris, that was a bit of fun and a bit of banter. There’s no harm in that. The day you start taking football too seriously is a bad day. Football is the entertainment business and Kris is an entertainer. He is a media pundit and he likes to say things to wind people up and he gives me a a few more grey hairs at times and a few more hairs to fall out! But he’s a character and he says what he thinks and how he feels. Sometimes that’s not a bad thing. I think that what he says tends to get magnified and blown out of proportion because it’s Kris Boyd. People like to have a pop back at Kris but he’s happy to handle that, he’s a man. I hope he feels proud on Saturday. He’s done a lot for Kilmarnock over the years.
“His goal record is fantastic and he’s been here for three spells as a player - which suggests we can’t get rid of him. He just keeps coming back. At this stage of his career this is a chance for the Kilmarnock fans to say thank you for all he has done in their colours. I hope he gets a good turnout tomorrow because he deserves it. He’s going to donate all the money to charity too, which is a fabulous gesture. He donated his signing on fee for Rangers back to Kilmarnock which tells you the feelings he has for this club. He has had different clubs but he’s never lost his love for this club that gave him his chance as a young boy. Actually my brother, Paul, was his coach when he was coming through.”
Nov 10th on the Hearts Post-Match: “I’m delighted to get back on track after last week especially after losing a game we shouldn’t have last weekend. It was important we got back to good defensive habits and a clean sheet. But, I think we should have more points. I think we should be higher in the league. I am probably a little bit disappointed with our points tally to be honest. But it is nice at this stage of the season to be so far away from the bottom two and if we can pick up a lot more points over the next eight matches over the winter break then maybe if we do it properly between now and the winter break then we can think about mounting a serious challenge for the top six again".
“For a club like Kilmarnock that is always the priority. We have to get away from the bottom, then we have to try and cement a top six place, after that it for the supporters to dream. Not for us We have had Daniel (Bachmann) in since August and he has been fantastic. He deserved a start and showed today that he can be a very good goalkeeper in the future. It was also very good for Ross (Millen). You have to be patient when you are under-study right back to the Scotland international. He has been very patient waiting for his chance but he took it. He defended well and got forward to get us the all important goal.” - Match Recap -
Nov 4th on the Dons Post-Match: "If you have as much control of a match that we had then you have to create a few more opportunities and get the second goal, which would have put the game to bed. We didn't do that. We had good control of the first half and played well. We asked the lads to go and kick on and we thought maybe we’d need a second goal to put the game to bed but we didn’t quite have the same control in the second half. However, I don't think that anyone could have seen Aberdeen scoring twice near the end because they only had two shots on target all afternoon. It's a tough one to take but if we want to stay around the top half of the table then we have to improve. We’ve done really well this season up until now, it’s a little jolt or setback for us and we’ll see how we react. "It is a sore one to take. Days like these are disappointing, but if we learn from them, we will still be up there challenging. If we switch off like we did at the end of the second half, it will be more difficult for us" - Match Recap -
Oct 31st on the Rangers Post-Match: "I thought it was a good game between two good teams and both goals could go down as a little bit fortunate. They scored with their first shot, which was a deflection and our first shot had a lucky little ricochet which fell to Greg in the box and he stuck it top corner. After that it was a good competitive game. I believe we're the first team in the league to come here and stop Rangers getting all three points, so we can be pleased with that, But, we're also a little bit disappointed because we also had opportunities, especially in the second half when the game opened up a little bit. We could have scored because Greg Stewart got away at the start of injury time and with a little bit of luck we might have nicked another goal. With a little bit more care and attention, we might have had all three points.
On Greg Stewart"He’s been great for us since he came into the club. He’s a terrific footballer and I gave him the lone role tonight after Eamonn Brophy got injured in training. He put in a hell of a shift and he got his reward with the goal." - Match Recap -
Oct 27th on the Accies Post-Match: "It was a good performance from Hamilton, I thought they made it really difficult for us. We couldn't find any fluency or rhythm in the game. There will be a lot of people going away today disappointed that we didn't get the win, but for me it's a decent point. It's a point we got when we didn't play at our best. Our position in the league table at this stage of the season is not important to us. It's consistency of performance. It's 13 points out of 15, that's good for us." - Match Recap -
Oct 20th on the Buddies Post-Match: "It’s a bad habit, it’s a habit we need to work on and get rid of but it was good character again. I thought St Mirren were really good first half, they got about us at the start of the game and disrupted our rhythm a little bit and stopped us doing what we are good at. We had a little chat at half time, put one or two things right and second half I thought you saw the true Kilmarnock team. It was a good strike, Alan (Power) doesn’t get very many but fair play to him if there is a shooting session at the end of training he is always there hitting them. He normally hits them well and it was nice for Alan to get a little reward. The second one was good. When you’ve got good players then they make decisions on the pitch which sometimes work out. It was a clever quick corner and good ball to the back post and a good header from Aaron. I can’t tell but the boys in the dressing room say it was over the line and the linesman was quite clear that it was over the line. I said to the players that it’s difficult to win four games in a row in the Scottish Premiership and we’ve managed to do that. We’ll keep our feet on the ground, keep working hard with another difficult game next week against Hamilton. Nothing is easy. We’ll try and make it five wins in a row if we can without underestimating our opponents." - Match Recap -
Oct 18th on Jordon Jones Suspension for Diving: “I trust all the referees to officiate the games as and when they see the incidents on the pitch. To think anything other than that would be to cast aspersions on referees that are not fair. All the referees I’ve come across in football are very honest. We spoke to Jordan about the incident. We looked at the footage that was put in front of us but we didn’t have any angles that would make people change their minds. Sometimes it’s best to accept your medicine and move on, so that’s what we will do. The players’ reactions are always the best ones to go by and if you look at Jordan’s, he didn’t jump up looking for a penalty. He wasn’t trying to deceive the referee, I don’t think. He says that and I believe Jordan. There are not many people who can run as fast as Jordan and any little touch, any little movement, can cause a loss of balance and that probably would be the best way to describe it.”
Clarke celebrated his first anniversary in the Killie job last weekend after a hugely successful first 12 months at Rugby Park. His side were bottom of the table when he was appointed as Lee McCulloch’s successor but they have picked up more points than any other Premiership side during 2018 so far. “I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve enjoyed working with this group of players. I’ve enjoyed helping to put a smile back on the faces of the Kilmarnock supporters. It feels like a much better place now than it was 12 months ago. We can be happy with what we’ve achieved so far but in this game if you settle for being happy it will soon catch you out, so we’re still looking to do better. The day you wake up and think you’ve cracked it or have achieved all you can achieve is the day you head for the golf course or the beach. I’d like to think there is more to come from this team.”
Oct 6th on the Dee Post-Match: "I knew it would be a difficult game. Dundee obviously got a big boost last week with their first win but I also knew that coming here there’d be more pressure on them because they haven’t won at home. Having said all that, I thought we started really slow and didn’t get into the game at all. We got back in the game with a fortuitous deflection so certainly the run of the game went for us today.
On Jordan Jones Diving: "I’ve only seen the wide angle, the same look as I get from the bench which obviously looks like a penalty. People are saying there was minimal contact. We’ll have to look at it and see how it comes out. If you are as quick as Jordan sometimes you go and anticipate contact and people don’t realise that as not everyone is as quick running with the ball as Jordan. The referee wasn’t too far from the incident and he gave it without any hesitation. It’s better to wait and see what the close ups and everybody tells me. People have said there’s no contact but from the angle I’ve seen I can’t say there was no contact."
"It’s been a decent start. It was important for us to build on the back of two important home wins. I said to the lads if they came here and got a point it would be good to have seven points from a difficult run of games and obviously we’ve managed to come away with all three so it feels even better." - Match Recap -
Sep 29th on the Well Post-Match: "Good win. The key moment of the game is the penalty save from Jamie MacDonald, it changes the momentum in the game. It gave us maybe a little boot up the backside that we needed just to get started and once we got started, I thought we were decent. If you want to be a good team then you have to learn to deal with adversity on the pitch. At the moment we're showing that we can handle that." - Match Recap -
Sep 23td on the Celtic Post-Match: "We were competitive and we were a little bit disappointed to be down at half time because I don’t think we deserved to be. We started the game really well, we fell out of it a little bit but we had decent control of the game. Two mistakes from the ball into the box cost us the goal and we reacted well. I spoke to them at half time about believing because we’ve shown we can compete with the big teams and second half we competed very well and deservedly got back into the game. Once we got back to 1-1 I felt the least we would get out of the game was a point."
"Stuart Findlay hasn't trained all week. He put himself forward to play, was feeling his knee at half-time, but he decided to carry on and got his rewards. We've picked up a great three points, but we still feel we've left some points behind in other games, so that's a measure of where we see ourselves. We had good players not involved today. That's a measure of how well we've worked to improve the squad and we hope can challenge in the top half. I thought the officials were good today, It was feisty, it was competitive. A yellow card (for Dedryk Boyata) was probably the correct decision." - Match Recap -
Sep 15th on the Hibs Post-Match: “The Hibs penalty watching back on the video, MacLaren actually kicks Kirk on the back of the foot/Achilles. How that can be a penalty I’m not so sure. But if it was a day for soft penalties then we should have had one at the end and we should have got something out of the game because we deserved something. We let a decent situation slip away from us. We were the best team on the pitch first half, I thought we played really well and I couldn’t believe we were 2-0 down. There was a stage in the game where you’re thinking ‘How did that happen?’ It was a good free kick from Stevie Mallan, which was a kick in the teeth for us but we responded well and got back in the game. Then we switched off from a corner and it’s 2-0, which made it difficult. We then scored two fantastic team goals to get ourselves back in the game. I think at half time everyone inside Easter Road except inside the Hibs dressing room would expect us to get something from the game. We certainly did but events have transpired against us and we’ve gone away empty handed and we feel a little bit hard done by. One positive aspect saw new signing Stewart make it two goals from two matches while Eamonn Brophy also found the net to round off a fine team move. It’s a partnership which has worked well for us. They’ve got themselves a couple of goals in recent games but if you concede three then it’s going to be difficult to concede goals. To concede three goals all from dead ball situations is something we’ll have to look at. For me it was more frustrating we probably weren’t quite as good on the ball in the second half as we did first half. I thought we were terrific with the ball in the first half. The movement was good and the passing was also good. Two great team goals. In the second half we made a few mistakes in possession. Since Greg [Stewart] came into the building we’ve probably changed the emphasis of the way the team plays and we’ve played a lot of good stuff in the last few games. But the overriding feeling is disappointment that we didn’t get something that we deserved from the game today.” - Match Recap -
Sep 1st on the Dons Post-Match: "We won the game quite comfortably. We could have had a few more goals. Eamonn Brophy did a great job for us up top. Even with 10 men, I thought Aberdeen were still a threat, they didn't stop trying, they kept putting the ball in the box. We can't be over excited just because we've won at Aberdeen. It's been a long time coming so Kilmarnock fans will enjoy that. Seven points from the first four games is less than I wanted, it's less than I thought we would get." - Match Recap -
Aug 28th on Dicker's Red Card Appeal Being Upheld: "I have to say that I’m disappointed but not surprised by the decision of the confidential panel, who chose to ignore our appeal and back the referee’s original decision. An appeal process that excludes the people involved, namely the player, the referee and officials of the appealing club from putting forward their case face to face with the adjudicating panel will sometimes be open to strange and inconsistent outcomes. This panel will usually be made up of three people and will, in all probability, include no former players, coaches or managers who understand football and the decisions that are made within a game. My belief and that of the majority of people with a good knowledge of football would say that Gary Dicker’s tackle was a genuine effort to win the ball without malice or recklessness and with minimal contact on an opponent who proceeded to roll around as if seriously hurt only to get straight back to his feet on the issue of the red card. The period of time between the tackle and red card decision was ridiculously short and lacked a calm and rational approach from such an experienced official. I don’t want, or need to, go through recent instances where red cards have been rescinded or downgraded on appeal or where violent conduct on the field of play has been overlooked by officials because they are there for everyone to see. Maybe smaller clubs like ourselves are fair game. However, as I said at the start, I’m in no way surprised at the outcome of our appeal. As soon as I heard the news, very early in the week, that the referee in question had been appointed to take charge of the first Old Firm match of the season before our hearing had taken place I, and many other people, knew that the decision would go against Kilmarnock. There is no doubt that the perception of most and certainly of our club is that the hearing was pre-judged by this early appointment. To finish I would like to reiterate my support for Scottish referees and believe that I have been a big voice in backing and supporting these sometimes maligned figures and despite issues like this one, they will continue to have my full respect and support."
Aug 25th on the Hearts Post-Match: "It was a game that was going to finish 0-0. It's changed the game and it's cost us one point. It was a 0-0 game written all over it from the first ten minutes. I thought we applied ourselves well with ten men and it was a strange goal but it found the bottom corner. It was two physical, competitive teams who over the course of the season will I think be competitive in the top half of the table. We just have to lick our wounds tonight and get back on track next weekend."
On Dicker's Red Card: "I've seen it back and I still don't think it's a red card. I'm sure Gary will get off on appeal. That will help us next week but it doesn't help us this week. I think the most disappointing thing is that an experienced official couldn't wait to get the card out of his pocket before he thought about it and assessed the situation. Gary Dicker won the ball twice, it's clear." - Match Recap -
Aug 23rd on the Hearts Pre-Match: Aug 23rd on the Hearts Pre-Match: "It's too early to get carried away with a couple of wins and too early to get carried away with a couple of defeats. We are all looking to see where we think we are going to pitch up in the league.Hearts will definitely be a contender for a top-six place, there is no doubt about that, and hopefully we will be too.
Killie's artificial surface: "First of all the most important thing to say is we are all disappointed when any player gets a serious injury, on any surface, not just artificial. They get injured on grass pitches. For Jamie we wish him a speedy and full recovery and hope he is back playing as soon as possible. That's the most important thing out of the whole incident. We train on it every day. Is our injury record any worse than anybody else's? We train on it every day and play on it every second week. For Kilmarnock, the initial decision to put down that pitch was financial, and it has benefited the club financially because it's in a much more secure financial footing than it was 10 years ago when it almost went bankrupt. So the benefits are there. We can't lift the plastic pitch this year so there's no point getting into a discussion about it because it can't come up, it's there for the season. We have to play on it and train on it and that's what we'll do."
Aug 19th on the Rangers (BetFred) Post-Match: "We are disappointed to go out, but we have gone out to a good team. I thought we were still in it to the death but I am not going to be too critical of the players. It is about defending better as a team." - Match Recap -
Aug 18th on the Rangers (BetFred) Pre-Match: "There is a different mentality to last season because this is a completely new season," he said. "Rangers are a different team, we are a different team. We have lost one or two players from last year, we have one or two in to help us, so it is completely different. There is no point in looking back to last year and we will see what happens on Sunday. If you want to do well in the cup competitions, you have to beat whoever is put in front of you. We are slowly getting back to the level we were at last season. We have been competitive in all the games and, if we are competitive, we are good enough to win matches against anybody; we have proved that."
Aug 11th on the Livi Post-Match: "I've said since January that I'm relatively happy with the players I've got in the building, If we can find one or two players that can improve the group we will try and bring them in. It's a difficult market when you've got no money, it's the loan market and free transfers we are looking for. We keep looking, we keep trying and we keep inviting people up to spend a couple of days training with us. If they come great, if they don't come it's also fine." - Match Recap -
Aug 10th on the Livi Pre-Match: "I think it will be one of our most difficult games of the season, Livingston's first game back in the Premiership, in front of their own crowd, on a new surface, they will want to start really well. They will gloss over their defeat at Celtic Park last week because they will expect most clubs to lose at Celtic Park this season, so they will be looking to get their season up and running this weekend."
On Lee Erwin's potential departure from the club: "It is a large wage increase for him and if everything goes the way we think it will go, he will leave us and go to Iran. He started the last game for us and I think three of the four League Cup games so he was in the plans for the season. It is football, the way it is. I am not going to stand in the way of someone who wants to leave the club because they have been offered a really good contract somewhere else. "So we have to deal with that and look to find a replacement if I can but I think I have replacements in the building. Greg Kiltie, not on the pitch last week, can play that position, Mikael Ndjoli, Eamonn Brophy can play as a second striker so we have plenty of cover in the building."
Aug 4th on the Saints Post-Match: "Jordan started well in the second half with one good dribble and he’s a confidence player. His confidence came back very quickly and he was one of a number of good performances. Mikael is a goalscorer and he’s shown that albeit at a different level. We’re happy to have him here and he gives us something a little bit different. Somebody asked me a few weeks ago if we had enough options to score goals and I think we have. I think you saw our forward power. I didn’t even get Greg Kiltie on the pitch today so we’ve got good forward options. For the club these records (winning first opening day fixture in 9 years) are meant to be open. We’re not here to set records, we’re here to win football matches. We wanted to have a good start today and we’ve done that. Feet back on the ground, back in training tomorrow and get ready for another difficult game away at Livingston next weekend."
On Stuart Findlay: .... "Stuart is still getting one or two little headaches so we’re not taking a risk on him. Kirk and Scott Boyd did so well today which is pleasing and means we don’t need to rush Stuart back." - Match Recap -
July 28th on the Spiders Post-Match: - Match Recap -
July 24th on the Spartans Post-Match: "I thought we were professional from start to finish and we got the goals eventually. We created chances especially early on in the first half and their goalkeeper made some good saves and they had some good blocks. Patience and a little bit of quality got us the win that we wanted. "Credit to Spartans, they were set up really well and defended the spaces well. They didn’t allow us to get behind them too often in the first half, which is why I made the change at half time. Stephen O’Donnell gives us a little bit more width on the right. Ross Millen had done well but he’s more a defensive full-back than an attacking full-back so having been a full-back myself I knew what was required and thankfully it paid off. They took St Mirren to penalties tonight. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it is a strange competition. We’ve won twice and drawn one and St Mirren haven’t won a game and they have six points. We have to make sure on Saturday that we finish the job we started at home. Queen’s Park will get the full respect, the same as Spartans got tonight as you saw with the team I put on the park. Kris is the type of centre forward who can play with anybody. Whoever plays with Kris, he normally let them know what to do and where to run. It was good to see Lee and Kris, they combined well at times. It was nice for Lee to get a goal and the first goal was really important for us as well. He came off the bench and made an impact. Obviously, the game was more open at that stage and Spartans had tired a bit and I thought there might be a few chances towards the end and Mikael has shown, albeit at lower levels, that he’s a goalscorer and he showed that again today." - Match Recap -
July 21st on the Sons Post-Match: “I expected him (Boyd) to score when he went on to the pitch, but I didn’t expect three. If you put quality deliveries into the box then Kris will always be a goal threat. I thought he would help us when he went on and that is the way it transpired.”
“The boys (Greg Taylor and Stuart Findlay) are both very sore. The next time they will maybe give each other a shout. It was quite a sickening thud, but thankfully they are both ok. Stuart’s eye swelled up and closed so there was no way he could carry on. Greg wanted to stay on the pitch, but the doctor said his cut was too big. But, there is no concussion and if they are fit to play on Tuesday night they will play.” Match Recap
July 13th on the Buddies (League Cup) Post-Match: "We are still a long way away from the start of the Scottish Premiership, which is our main target to be physically ready for, We lost the penalty shoot-out and made the group a little bit more difficult. We need to make sure we win the next three games to get ourselves 10 points which should be enough to take us through to the next round. That's the immediate objective. For the ones who played 90 minutes it was a great workout. We'll give them a couple of days off now, which they deserve because they haven't had any time off in the last three weeks so that's a long shift. I thought we finished the game strongly so that's pleasing to see. We were fortunate there were no big injuries and I look forward to another hard week's training next week. We go to Dumbarton knowing we need to make sure we win the next three games." Match Recap
July 5th on Signing a New Improved Contract: "The club approached me at the end of last season and I have a good relationship with the people above me. I think the relationship is strong. I was very grateful and pleased that they came to me and offered me a new, improved contract. It tells you that you've done a good job and it shows they have a little bit of faith in you. It is easy to sign the contract and easy to take the rewards but the hard bit is that I need to repay that faith by doing more good work for the club and hopefully we can do that this season. I'm enjoying the job and I enjoy going to my work day in, day out and when you get that job satisfaction it is great."
July 5th on the BetFred Lge Cup Setup: “It’s really disruptive for a manager going into competitive games so quickly. I find it a really strange set-up. Obviously it’s organised by someone who doesn’t know that much about football because you should be able to structure your pre-season so you can gradually introduce your players to matches. You can use them for 45 minutes or 60 minutes, you can utilise your whole squad. Obviously you can’t do that in competitive matches because you can only make three changes. It also seems a bit strange the two Premiership teams have to play the first game. We’ll probably be a little bit undercooked for the game and St Mirren will be similar. But that’s not to say we won’t be trying to win it because we will.”
July 4th on the Season Ahead: “It’s good that supporters, the board and all those people can dream about it. As manager it’s important that I keep a sense of reality and perspective in our group,” Clarke said of some of the headlines during the summer break. We’ll be focused on what we know we can do and what we’re trying to do. For supporters to dream and enjoy is why you have good moments in football. You suffer in the bad moments so you have to enjoy your good moments. From last season to the start of this season, the Kilmarnock fans have been able to dream and think a bit about what their team might and might not do. But for us we have to go out and do it again next season but because you were good last season doesn’t mean you’re going to be good this season. With humility and respect for everybody we’ll go out and try and be as good as we can be. There are no targets, I didn’t set any last year. My first target was to get away from the relegation zone and make sure we were safe and we did that, comfortably. We managed to push on and had a decent finish. My only target will be to stay competitive, to pick up enough points and be far enough from the bottom of the table that we can look above us. Until you start playing and picking up points there are no targets. It could be that this season you finish seventh or eighth and it could be just as good a season as last season because you don’t know how the league will pan out. It’s always wrong to set unrealistic targets so it’s better you don’t set any targets. The target is to be competitive in every match we play and to pick up as many points as we can. Scottish football is on an upward curve. I think it’s been on the up for a little while now. It’s good to see that people are attracted to the game again. There are a lot of good managers in Scotland. It’s about your team and players, so hopefully we can attract one or two better players to improve our squad. : “I would like to think that the way we finished last season, the feelgood factor would still be around the club and we could get some decent gates at the start of the season. Hopefully we’ll see a big crowd against St Johnstone and we’re responsible for it. If we play well and get results thern the supporters will come. They showed us that last season and it’s up to us to keep them coming and get them onside.”