We spoke to Russell Crombie of the On Team In Ayrshire Podcast and you can read what he had to say below.
Your part of the ‘One Team in Ayrshire’ podcast. When did that start up and how did you get involved?
The show started a few years ago, when myself and Jamie McDougall realised there might be an appetite for greater analayis on Kilmarnock's matches. Things have petered off lately with work and university commitments, but we're hoping to get back up and running soon.
There was pressure from the support for Michael Johnston to resign and he finally did in May this year. Without knowing the full scenario, how has the club been doing without him involved now?
The key phrase is 'baby steps'. Johnston's position at the club had soured relationships with a lot of fans and local businesses, and those wounds won't neccessarily heal immediately. There has been an increase in sponsorship at the club, and we're revamping our hospitality packages by building an enclosure within the Main Stand, so the club clearly feel things will continue to improve as time moves along.
Lee McCulloch took over in February and managed to guide the club to an 8th place finish. He’s was then appointed the manager full-time. Were you happy with him being handed the manager’s job on a permanent basis?
I think the majority of fans were happy enough to give Lee the job. The issue I had, and it's one I expressed after the appointment of Gary Locke as well, was that he had no experienced coach or former manager alongside him. Locke brought in Lee McCulloch and Peter Leven as his coaching team, both of whom had just finished playing, and they were subsequently retained by Clark. When Lee became permanent manager, he kept Peter Leven on but I'd have liked a greater input on the board there. The Director of Football role is hot topic in Scottish Football right now, but I feel McCulloch would be helped with having a sounding board alongside him - my personal choices would be Craig Brown or Jim Jefferies.
This summer has seen another busy one for Killie with players coming and going. Who’s made an impact and impressed you the most?
It's always a busy summer at Rugby Park! In terms of new aqcusitions, Gordon Greer is the obvious answer. A recent Scotland defender, he just oozes class every time he steps onto the field. On Saturday last against Aberdeen he marshalled Aberdeen's atacking threat with consumate ease, and is probably still too good to be playing at this level. I won't complain though! Elsewhere, Dom Thomas has started the season brightly and looks to be a decent piece of business.
Kilmarnock have struggled in their opening round of fixtures, only picking up two points. How have the team been playing despite the lack of points? No need for any panic yet?
It's been a mixed bag. Controrary to what Steven Thompson was saying on Sportscene last week, we haven't just been a long-ball team. We try to pass the ball out from the back, but had no player to link teh defence and midfield with Gary Dicker out injured. Adam Frizzell, a wide man, was being asked to fill that role and he wasn't comfortable. Saturday against Aberdeen however, Calum Waters came in and filled the role excellently meaning we were able to fully play on the deck without having no link and being forced into a long ball.
How do you see your team doing this term?
It's a season of rebuilding, so I'd happily take a tenth place finish and continue to develop our young players. We have a very young squad, with Findlay, Taylor, Hawkshaw, Frizzell, Wilson, Jones, Thomas etc all regulars and all still in their late teens or early twenties, so another season of Premiership football will help them, and ourselves, going into next season.
What player will cause Dundee the most threat on Saturday?
Without a doubt, Jordan Jones. He tore Aberdeen to ribbons on Saturday, and is in the form of his life. He's pacy, direct, clever on the ball and has a good end product. He won't be at Kilmarnock long if he keeps up this run of form.
What player from this Dundee team would you take in your team?
Mark O'Hara *sobs*. I'd never have let him go in the first place, and he could have been the perfect man to link the defence and midfield as mentioned earlier.
It’s a huge game for both clubs. We will be looking to build on last week’s win while Killie will be hoping to get off the mark. How do you see this one going?
You're right, it's a massive afternoon of football for both sides. I have to keep faith in my team and believe that we'll come away with three points, but a lot of that faith is sat firmly at the door of the aforementioned Jordan Jones. If he can get running at Hendry or Kerr, then we'll create chances galore. If Dundee close the space he has, then we have to rely on Rory McKenzie on the other flank, who has a very poor end product. Keep Jones quiet, and Dundee have a good chance of coming away with full points.