Kilmarnock: The View From the Opposition
After a much-welcomed weekend off for Dundee, we are back in action this Saturday against Kilmarnock at Dens Park.
As we all know, Dundee are sitting bottom of the league and in need of a much needed victory while Kilmarnock's fortunes have took a turn for the better since the arrival of Steve Clarke.
We caught up with Russell Abercrombie from the One Team In Ayrshire podcast again to hear his views before the teams square off.
A lot has changed since we last spoke before our 1-1 draw at Rugby Park. Lee McCulloch is gone and a surprise appointment of Steve Clarke was made. Did this take the Killie fans by surprise?
Yes and no. It was certainly a surprise when you look at Clarke's standing in the game, especially down south. However, he does have a connection to the club with his older brother Paul having played over 350 times for us and having grown up less than 15 miles down the road in Saltoats. When McCulloch departed, he was what you'd have described as the dream, but unrealistic, appointment. I and many others are pleasently surprised to be proved wrong.
Two wins, two draws with the old firm and only one defeat since Clarke arrived has been a very impressive start to his career with Killie. What has he changed that wasn’t there before?
In one word - organisation. Under Lee McCulloch the players were there but they often looked as if they lacked a cohesive gameplan, Clarke has changed that and the players look well drilled. Paul McDonald, Academy Coach and the man who took charge of Killie for the trip to Firhill, brought back in Alan Power to the midfield which solidified the central area, and Clarke has mainly stuck with the set-up that day. Greg Taylor has been moved into midfield from left-back and he's given us legs in the middle that was lacking from guys like Stevie Smith.
Since Clarke has been in charge, I’ve heard a lot of positives about the set up and performances. Obviously taking away the two wins, did the team deserve more from the two draws and one defeat?
Our one defeat so far, at home to Hibs, was as frustrating a football match as you're likely to see. Killie hit the woodwork three times and had numerous attempts cleared off the line. The fact that the Kilmarnock support, notoriously fickle, applauded the team off at the end spoke volumes.
As for the two draws away in Glasgow, we definitely did enough to take all 3 points at Ibrox; however it would have to be a gargantuan performance to win at Celtic Park, but we just about did enough to earn the point.
The draw with The Rangers must had been something else? Seeing your keeper save the penalty only to go right up to equalise in injury time. That’s what football is all about!
A tremendous moment. The scenes in the away end were unforgettable. Getting a point in Glasgow is never a bad result, but the circumstances you described made it even sweeter. Especially considering we played the ball out from the back and didn't resort to pumping it long as teams would be forgiven for trying.
Going back to the first game between us two this season. Did you see the scoreline as a fair reflection of the game?
I'd say so, yes. Gordon Greer's mistake early on was one of the only errors he's made since joining but he atoned for that with the equaliser later on. We were however a much different side back then, and I'm far more confident going into the up-coming clash than I was back in September.
Kilmarnock has only lost once in their last five visits to Dens with the last three ending 1-1. Will we see a repeat of that scoreline? Or will the Dee eventually or Killie to continue their good form?
Given the positivity I've displayed so far, it would be typical of Kilmarnock to mess that up and lose comfortably this Saturday. However, this team seems different and there's a sense of hope and optimism around the club that's been missing for many a year. Dens is a great away day, even if we are stuck in the league's worst stand, so I'm hoping to see us at the very least keep up our good form against the City of Discovery's only top-flight team. Killie to sneak it 2-1.