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.
Fans are reminded that both the Bobby Cox Stand and South Enclosure are admission by ticket only.
The ticket office is becoming increasingly busy on matchdays and fans are encouraged to buy their tickets as early as possible. The ticket office is open from 10am on matchdays.
Prices for the Kilmarnock match are £24 (adults) and £16 concessions ( Over 65 or Students with valid student photo ID), Under 18s are £10
Family Area Priced tickets available in the Bobby Cox Stand Rows A – Y, Seats 1 – 47 with prices as follows:
Adult and one child under 12 £26
Two adults and two children under 12 £50
With additional children under 12 at £ 2
Under 12 tickets can only be bought as part of a family group
Under 16 tickets can be bought without an adult ticket
Fans are reminded that the Rangers match will be all ticket tickets are now on sale. Home fans are reminded that to be able to buy for this Category A match you would need to have accumulated a number of points by buying tickets for a Category B match
A limited number of tickets for the AWAY end are also on sale. These tickets are available only for locally based Rangers fans. Fans should be aware that proof of identity and address will be required to purchase these tickets.
AWAY tickets are priced at £26 each and are limited to 2 per person and are only available in person at the ticket office at Dens Park.
Prices for this match are £26 (adults) and £19 concessions (Over 65 or Students with valid student photo ID), Juveniles under 18 are £12
Family Area Priced tickets available in the Bobby Cox (Home)Stand Rows A – Y, Seats 1 – 47 with prices as follows:
Adult and one child under 12 £31
Two adults and two children under 12 £57
With additional children under 12 at £ 5
Under 12 tickets can only be bought as part of a family group
Home tickets can be bought at the ticket office, in person or by phone, or via the website at www.dundeefc.co.uk then click on “TICKETS” where you will be able not only to choose your seat but check on the view from seats in a particular area.
ALL INFORMATION TAKEN FROM THE OFFICIAL DUNDEE WEBSITE
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.
Gordon Greer scored for Kilmarnock as they came from behind to hold Dundee to a 1-1 draw in a fiery encounter at Rugby Park in the SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership. Faissal El Bakhtaoui scored an early opener for Neil McCann’s men in a game that saw tempers flare
Dundee had to settle for a point in this weeks fixture with Kilmarnock. Faissal El Bakhtaoui gave the dark blues an early lead when McDonald had saved a Leitch-Smith shot and the little striker finished from 6 yards on on the rebound. Kilmarnock equalised on the 64th minute when Greer scored from a corner when Boyd headed the ball back into the Dundee 6 yard box.