Manager's Comments

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.”



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