With a torrid season behind us, and the play-off’s looming large within the next week, here are some top tips for the players and the supporters to make sure our proud top-flight history stays intact.
(1) EL CAPITAN: KRIS BOYD
Lee Clark would be very wise to make Boomer the captain over the two legs. He has huge experience of high pressure situations such as this, having played in numerous cup finals, as well as more recently, where he scored the goal against Hibs that kept us out of the play-off’s a few years ago. He was also captain of the team during our biggest win of the season, a few weeks ago when we unexpectedly thrashed Hamilton for four. It was clear to see on that day, that Kris stepped up his game, and that was a big factor in us claiming the three points. If he had the captaincy, he would help to motivate the team no end and this would have a massive impact over the two legs.
(2) TALK, TALK, TALK…
Communication seems to have been a huge problem over the season as a whole. The communication between the midfield and defence have failed to talk to each other properly, which has led to huge gaps in the park which teams have relentlessly exploited each and every game. Poor communication has also led to game changing moments throughout the season. One of the most vital was just a few weeks ago, up in Inverness. Miscommunication between Balatoni and MacDonald led to our keeper conceding a penalty and being sent off, which completely changed the course of the game. There is no telling what the outcome of that game would have been if that incident hadn’t happened, but it was always a possibility that we could have came away with three points, which could have had a major impact on the fight to stay up. So if Lee Clark can emphasise communication over the next week, then this should stop the goals leaking in and give us a better chance of staying up.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Throughout the season, the team has been filled with people who are always looking for that exquisite ball that will set up a scoring opportunity. Slater, Obadeyi, McKenzie and Kiltie among others are all guilty of this. However, too many times this season the whole team have failed to do the basics right; clearing the ball, playing straight passes etc. If we cannot get these basic right, then that will give the team a good foundation from which to play their style of football over the two legs.
In certain games this season, there has been a distinct lack of effort right throughout the team. It has been most obvious when we go a goal down, especially late on in games. An example of this came at the weekend, when Dundee United went 3-2 up at Rugby Park. As soon as the goal went in, the heads went down and we never looked like getting back into the game. Players didn’t track their runners, there was a serious lack of closing down the ball, and passes were going askew all over the pitch. This is something that Clark needs to sort out, otherwise a few goals from Falkirk will kill off the tie and send us down to the championship.
THE FAN EFFECT
It is not just up to the players to keep us in the Premiership, the fans also have a huge part to play. The fans have been brilliant away from home all season, creating a great atmosphere that has really lifted the players. However, the atmosphere at Rugby Park could be compared to that of a non-league team, and that is something that needs to change for the return leg. A great home atmosphere really helps to spur the Killie players on, as well as intimidate the away side and their fans. At the time of writing, our two thousand ticket allocation for the away game has almost sold out, and tickets for the home game are going at a steady rate as well. Hopefully, Killie fans can turn out in force and create the kind of atmosphere home and away that will lift the players and keep us in the top flight for the 23rd year in a row.