Tuesday, 21 June 2016

My Favourite XI - Scott McCue

We asked the members of the KillieFC.com forums to tell us their all-time favourite Killie XI. If you'd like to tell us about your favourite XI, simply send it to us with a wee paragraph about each of your choices, a photo of you and your Twitter handle (if you use it): michael@killiefc.com

Here's Scott McCue to take us through his world-beaters...

Rather than trying to pick the best all time XI, I've chosen the XI that I've enjoyed watching the most since my auld da started taking me to Rugby Park after Tommy Burns guided us to promotion in 1993 (glory-hunter).

To try and shoe-horn in as many of my favourites as possible I'm going for a 4-4-2 formation with a diamond midfield. They may not be the greatest team collectively, but individually they're a great bunch o' lads... essentially, I'm copying the Gary Locke blueprint - what can go wrong?

GK: Alan CombeIn goal, I've went for Alan Combe. Probably the toughest decision of my XI, he's pipped Dragoje Lekovic and Gordon Marshall to the number 1 jersey. For me, a great keeper and can feel aggrieved not to have received more international recognition.

RB: Gus MacPhersonRight back. Probably the easiest choice of my XI: Gus MacPherson. We've struggled badly to replace him since he left 15 years ago. Magnificent servant, cup winner and could do us a shift in goals if necessary - a simple choice.

LB: Garry HayGarry Hay claims the left back spot for me. Another who gave the club loyal service, he got his just rewards with the league cup win in 2012. Again, a player who pretty much picked himself every week. Being a local boy, he'll always be looked on slightly more favourably and it's the case here as he pips Tam "the tache" Black and Dylan Kerr to the number 3 jersey. Also, special mention to Ben Gordon for his first loan spell at Killie - such a pity he hasn't kicked on more.

CB: Ray MontgomerieNo surprise for the first selection, the legendary Ray Montgomerie. I really don't think I need to add anything in here to justify the inclusion of the 1997 cup winner skipper. In my team, he will be partnered by another hero...

CB: Momo Sissoko
Aye, he was a bombscare at times, a clueless galoot, a brainfart from a calamity at any given moment. But there has never been a better sight on a football pitch than watching the big man decide he was going to go on the rampage.

CDM: Manuel PascaliSitting in front of the defence, providing protection - the Italian stallion Manuel Pascali. From the first moment I clapped eyes on him, I knew that he would indeed "dae". Although to be fair, he'd just clattered Hibs' David van Zanten mere minutes into his Killie debut. It didn't take long for the Killie fans to fall in love with Pasca, and he loved us every bit as much in return. Granted, he may have accrued a more impressive card collection than Clintons but he's another who gave the club great service and was always great with the fans.

CMs: Liam Kelly & Craig Bryson
The 2010-11 season was the most enjoyable season I've ever had being a Killie fan. I didn't miss a game and aside from the odd snider (0-5 at Aberdeen & 1-5 v Rangers, ouch!) I absolutely loved it and watched some great football. And these two were, literally, at the centre of it. Worked tirelessly for the team and allowed others to flourish. Kelly's inclusion is also supported by his goal against Caley Thistle at Rugby Park - a lovely lobbed finish after a great passing move.

CAM: Alexei EremenkoAt the top of my diamond, the greatest player I've ever seen in the blue and white: Alexei Eremenko. Under Mixu, we had a manager who knew how to set a team up to get the best out of him and bloody hell, was he not just fantastic? It was his vision and execution of passing that transformed Conor Sammon from a forward who would run all day with not much to show for it into an absolute goal machine. And not just that, he also transformed Jamie Hamill from, well, Jamie Hamill into a marauding right back. I don't think it's a co-incidence that either player has performed to such a level as they did that season alongside Losa. And another thing, how Emilio Izaguirre won Scottish Player of the Year over Alexei that year was bloody silly nonsense.

ST: Kris BoydIt's a testament to the work of Alan Robertson that I have two products of his youth set up leading the line of my favourite XI. It may be blindingly obvious but Kris Boyd is straight in there. Simply put, the most prolific striker I've seen in the stripes. His abilities perfectly showcased in Alan Johnston's only full season in charge as he bagged 22 goals in a pretty honking Killie side. 

ST: Steven Naismith
Partnering Boydy is Stevie Naismith. The best player to have came through our youths under AR's watch. My favourite memories of the wee man are his hat-trick against Falkirk in the league cup semi, his magnificent solo effort against Hibs (always worth a watch on YouTube) and a screamer against Motherwell - he cut in from the left wing and launched a rocket from about 25-30 yards past a keeper who may as well have stayed in the dressing room.

So, that's my Killie XI. My subs bench, since you asked, comprises of Gordon Marshall, Dylan Kerr, Frederic Dindeleux, Gary Holt, Alan Johnston, Paul Wright and Jerome Vareille. Like I say, there may be better XIs but this is mine - thanks for the memories!!

What do you think? Let him know on Twitter: @smccue83

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