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.
As ever, the lads at Hibs Talk Podcast spoke to us ahead of todays clash.
We spoke last time before Hibs visited Dundee at Dens. Hibs were far by the better side that day but Dundee managed to grab their first point of the season. What was the thoughts from within the Hibs support after that game?
There was a lot of frustration but some understanding. Hibs had something like 17 corners, and kept trying the short corner, which Dundee seen through and snuffed out. But something you’re going to come up against a goalkeeper having one of his best displays of the season, and Bain was outstanding that day.
Since then you have only lost once in eight matches and in your last three games, been victorious in all three without conceding a goal. I take it it’s been a joy to watch the Hibees the past while?
Yeah, it’s been great. A lot of Hibs fans will be swaggering about their work place. Three wins in Seven days and before that great displays in the games against Celtic, Aberdeen and Celtic in the Cup.
You’re currently sitting third in the league, I know it’s still early in the season but surly most fans are eying up closing in on Aberdeen?
I think fans are semi realistic, and would be happy with 4th come the end of the season. But we have to be ambitious, and with Rangers a bit of a mess, and the possibility of McInnes leaving Aberdeen, there’s no reason why we can’t push for 2nd.
Paul Hanlon was recently called up to the Scotland squad, his first to the senior national team. A well-deserved call up for the defender?
I think so. He’s not the “answer” to Scotland’s defensive issues. Personally, I think Soutar at Hearts with Cooper of Leeds is the long-term solution. But you need squad depth, and I see no reason why Hanlon can’t be a Scotland squad player.
You recently seen your good form rewarded with a win in the Edinburgh derby. I make that the eight Derby without defeat for you lot. What did you make of Hearts?
Hearts are in transition; however, it seems they’ve “been in transition” for years. Eventually you have to get a basis of a team, a core or a spine, whatever you want to call it. Hearts main issue is they have no width, and that was obvious at Easter Road. So, I couldn’t believe when they lined up with a diamond formation against Rangers, and you could tell Rangers had done their homework.
Simon Murray seems to be getting his name on the scoresheet again, as is Martin Boyle. What other threats up front do Hibs have in their arsenal?
Barker makes up the front 3 and is getting better and better each game. Fantastic dribbler who is taking on more players as his confidence grows. Only problem is he always cuts back on to his right foot, and I think every Right Back in the league knows that now. Will be interesting to see if Stokes gets back in the team if fit.
Dundee have been playing good football but unfortunately the results haven’t been coming hand in hand with them. Do you think you will see McCann stick to his guns with his style of play or do you expect him to mix it up, especially since Easter Road is a tough place for us to visit?
He’ll stick to his guns and I back him to do it. Dundee have too many good players to go down, and its only November. Given the choice would Dundee fans rather be patient and have great football that eventually clicks but always guarantees exciting football, giving say an 8th in the league finish with something to build on for next season. Or hoof ball tactics, a boring season and 6th.
The big question now, can Hibs make it four wins in a row or can Dundee end their horrible run of defeats and maybe move off the bottom of the table?
Yes, we can, and I’ll go for 3-1 Hibs, however I would not be surprised if the battle of the two Neil’s resulted in another draw.
With Motherwell up next at Dens this Wednesday, the Dundee gaffer looks certain to adapt the same philosophy.
“It is but no-one is going to come to you and say, ‘There you go’,” when asked if the team are due to give another team a doing.
“We have to make it happen but I am confident because we are creating so many chances.
“When I took over last season, I said this was a team that had to stop losing games and in order to do that we almost sacrificed a wee bit of our going forward.
“I said I would try to change that, to being a team which was really on the offensive when we had the ball.
“At times this year we have conceded goals but we have created so many chances.
“Looking at it from Saturday, we could have just sat in and attempted to take a point but I am trying to change the mid-set of this club to not accept that a point is OK against Partick Thistle when we have totally dominated the match.
“I can’t suddenly turn around and say, ‘Hold on a minute, where are you going?’ when we are trying to go for the winner.
“We will talk individually about how we could have stopped their goals but overall I am convinced it will turn.”
We spoke to the guys over at The Motherwell Football Club Podcast who were suffering slightly from a hangover after their Hampden heroics.
Gives us a little background about yourself. What made you become a Motherwell fan?
Something I've asked myself countless times! My parents weren't football fans, I grew up two minutes walk from Fir Park - no brainer!
How was the podcast born and how long have you been producing it for? We began the podcast after Stuart McCall left in 2014, our group of mates all had differing opinions on it and we decided to record a chat on the subject. It's really grown since then, with a lot of players from the past and present as well as club staff joining us. We've also done various charity projects and are currently producing our third book - I love being involved with it all.
It’s been a busy summer transfer window for Motherwell. After last season, did the club need clear out?
Absolutely, last season was a disaster. There's a huge amount of risk attached to that scale of upheaval, but Stephen Robinson has made some excellent signings.
This season has seen the club start this league campaign in great form. Has this taken the fans by surprise considering the turnover of new players?
I think it has. We've been helped with a large majority of home games in the early stages, but saying that we were awful at home last season, there's just a real belief in this team just now.
You have also done not too bad in the League Cup. On Sunday you beat Rangers at Hampden to set up a final with Celtic next month. With the run Celtic are on at the moment, is the belief there that your team can lift the cup?
Why not? There's no illusions that Celtic are well ahead of the rest, but this is a one off game, if we go with the same attitude we went into the Rangers game with then we'll have a fighting chance.
What’s the deal with Louis Moult? Do you think he will sign a new deal with the club or is it a case of enjoying him in a Motherwell top while you can?
I love Louis Moult, probably more than my missus but don't tell her that! There's an offer on the table, Motherwell have been pretty upfront that they've offered the best that they can to extend his deal, will he stay? I doubt it, but it would be amazing if he committed to a new deal, he's idolised by our support.
Excluding Moult who would no doubt be the easy pick, what other player has impressed you so far this season and who should Dundee look out for on Wednesday at Dens?
Cedric Kipre came in as a trialist, we tried to sign one of the other three and didn't get them, Kipre comes in and he's been absolutely superb - our best deal of the window.
If you could pick one Dundee player to have in your team, who would it be and why?
Sitting here hungover after pumping Rangers 2-0 at Hampden, nobody!
What targets should the club be aiming for in the league? You’ve already reached one national final, would another one be pushing it too far?
Don't really want to get too ahead of ourselves, we've had an amazing start and there's a real buzz about Fir Park, I guess we resort to the 'one game at a time' cliché.
Finally, what’s your score prediction for Wednesday?
After building us up, I reckon it'll be a really tough game, we'll win though - 2-0.