Thursday, 21 January 2016

Be The Boss - David Moran

In the second of a new semi-regular feature on, we throw someone in at the deep end and ask them who they'd pick in their first XI for that weekend's game. This week we asked former club director David Moran to pick his XI for Saturday's game against Dundee United and give his reasons...

It’s a big match this week, 17 points clear is safe of automatic relegation but 11 is only four wins for them - and that's squeaky bum stuff. A draw is no use to United, so expect them to come at us with everything they can muster. We've had three solid results, our best run in 12 months but we need to be wary of being predictable in our team selection. Other teams have often been better prepared for how we line up than we have this season.


I’m sticking with the 4-2-3-1 that so many favour now. I’m not a huge fan so I'm picking a team that allows us to flex it to 4-4-2 when required during the game. I want to attack them wide and get service into the box. Keep a tight line of 4 across the back with 2 in the middle capable of playing box to box.

The wide players need to be ready to receive the ball and prepared to run at the full backs. We have depth on the bench so if its not working we can change the personnel without changing the tactics. That will be important. If we can keep our shape and burst their confidence then we can get a big result.

GK: Jamie MacDonald

When he signed there were a few who wondered if that mistake in the cup semi would define him. It hasn’t, he has been the stand out performer this season making some unforgettable saves in games that we all wish we could forget. He has been the difference in the current 14 point gap to Utd. I trust him to do his part in making it at least 15.

RB: David Syme

I’ve been impressed with David every time I’ve seen him play. He has taken his chance in our ‘problem position’ in the past few games and has the opportunity to make it his own even if it is not his favoured position. Some of the best centre backs in history played full back for years before transitioning in their twenties. If he can demonstrate the discipline and concentration required for full back it will stand him in good stead for the future.

LB: Kevin McHattie

Back from suspension I have preferred him to Findlay. A repeat of that winner at Tannadice earlier in the season would be brilliant but his priority will be keeping it a tight line across the back four and not letting United get any return down the flanks. I’m hoping we can get some joy attacking the United full backs but Kevin will need to protect his winger when they break.

CB: Lee Ashcroft & Conrad Balatoni

This was tough but I had to stick with the pairing that has played the last three games. Getting consistency and confidence in your defensive triangle is critical and MacDonald, Ashcroft and Balatoni are the bedrock of our mini run. Confidence is the key for Lee. When he has it he is fantastic and there is no reason why he can’t feed off Conrad and Jamie who clearly have bags of it at the moment.

CM: Craig Slater & Steven Smith

This is where we need to continue to mix it up. We need to ‘keep the heid’ on Saturday because it will get heated. Jamie Hamill was great last week but this is not the game for him. I love Craig Slater and think he can be a great box to box midfielder for Killie for a good few years. Last week’s goal was terrific and his supporting runs are invaluable when we are attacking. I worry though about his concentration levels defensively though.

Too often he forgets to track the runner at the edge of the box getting stuck in no mans' land. That’s where Stevie Smith has been really good. Bringing the discipline from full back he reads the game well and has the ability to make us solid in front of the back four. He too though can have a confidence crisis in games so that’s where Jig needs to earn his wages preparing them both for Saturday. Both of them are very capable of punishing the opposition with a dead ball so they'll need to be all over any opportunities we get.

CAM: Greg Kiltie

His favourite position. This is a boy with confidence and the energy to support both wingers inside while also supporting his striker in behind. He will do a lot of running and won’t last the whole match but Adam Frizzell is an able replacement and will be ready to keep the pressure and intensity on United for the last 20 minutes.

LW: Tope Obadeyi

Yes, I know, you'll all think I'm mad. He is the most frustrating player at Rugby Park. When we were signing him I called an old Killie player who coached him in England. He told me that Tope was the fastest player he had ever seen with the ball at his feet and had the hardest shot in his team: the problem was getting him to do both on the same day!

Tope has had some of his best days in a Killie shirt against the Arabs so I’ll give him a start with a couple of boys on the bench itching to replace him if he doesn’t take the chance.

RW: Josh Magennis

“What?!” I hear you shout. Josh is a menace but I don’t want the lone striker to be a runner and a target this week. I want to run at them down the flanks and get quality balls into the box. Josh is a fearsome sight when he is running at you and receiving the ball at the back post I know he can grab a goal.

ST: Kris Boyd

My tactics this week are all about getting the ball in the penalty box. Anyone using Kris as a target through the middle will be shot. Tope and Josh will be creating chances and there has been no better penalty box striker at Rugby Park in my lifetime than Boydy. It's been a crap season for Kris but he has the ability to double his season's tally in this match.

What do you think? Let us know on Twitter: @KillieFC

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