After the delight of a rare away victory in the league up in Perth, a fair bit of optimism surrounded our great club and support for our interim manager Lee McCulloch stepped up a notch - the departure of Lee Clark seemed like a distant memory. But as a staunch Killie supporter, I know all too well that we can’t get too carried away. And that was the message big Jig got across to his players in the run-up to the Motherwell clash, anticipating a fierce response from the Lanarkshire club after Mark McGhee’s sacking.
Saturday’s game started off fantastically but ended in bitter disappointment. ‘If you need a win, come to Killie’ was a phrase that did the rounds following the loss. So we head to Ross County this weekend in what is always a hugely difficult fixture. We’re missing key players in Dicker and McKenzie so Jig needs to rally his troops and show the fans that we really can compete for a top six place this season.
Jamie MacDonald - In my opinion, we need this guy back between the sticks. Woodman seems shaky, indecisive and overall, he lacks crucial first team experience. We can’t afford to have MacDonald sitting on the bench throughout an important end of season period. The number of points Jamie rescued for us last season is probably quite astonishing. He is a vital component of the team and we need him for the run in, starting in Dingwall.
Greg Taylor - It’s quite impressive to see a 19 year-old hold down a regular starting place with a top-flight club. Taylor is growing as a player at full-back and has showed he has a big future in the game. Keep it up wee man.
Kristoffer Ajer - What a player this boy is going to develop into. He shows such calmness and composure on the ball and his passing ability is second to none. One of the first names on the team sheet right now and because he had Adam Rooney in his back pocket versus Aberdeen recently, I’m predicting a similar outcome with Liam Boyce (hopefully).
Scott Boyd - I’d probably have Gary Dicker in this position but due to Stevie Smith’s injury (no surprise there), we’ll need someone reliable in midfield so that’s why ‘the other Boyd’ starts against his former club. Let’s hope his nostalgia is thrown to one side and helps keep County at bay.
Luke Hendrie - One of the easiest decisions I’ll have to make. Hendrie is a class act and has been a consistent performer for us this campaign. The on-loan Burnley defender seems to be enjoying his stay here too and I think we all hope this guy is here following the summer window.
Martin Smith - With the absence of Gary Dicker, young Martin has a huge responsibility to slot in seamlessly and do a job in midfield. He featured a few times under Lee Clark at the beginning of the season so he has some experience under his belt. I’ve watched him in the U20s recently and he’s a fighter so hopefully he can put in a determined performance.
Sean Longstaff - From what I’ve seen of him, he’s a very hard working player and runs around like a dafty. His boundless energy is a key attribute in the middle of the park. He is still a young lad and makes mistakes but he’s bagged a couple of goals for us since his arrival. Hopefully he can get another against County.
Jordan Jones - He frustrates me a lot. I remember thinking during the Betfred Cup in the summer that we’ve captured a very decent winger here. But while he shows glimpses of skill and quality, he’s very inconsistent and can’t seem to take a simple corner. Jones only just gets into my team because I still feel he has something in his locker and something to prove.
Adam Frizell - Frizz is a talent alright but with McKenzie, Kiltie and Longstaff in front of him, he’s found it difficult to hold down a regular place. However, he’s a big player for the U20s and has something about him that can unsettle oppositions. He might not have the stamina and steely determination of McKenzie but if he collects the ball in the final third, his creativity can be dangerous.
Conor Sammon - The Fish has really surprised me since his return to the Ayrshire Killie. He endured a torrid first half of the season at Hearts but looks at home again. He puts himself about and got himself a goal against St Johnstone. I hope he continues in this vein and contributes to our top six push.
Kris Boyd - For all of the criticism I have directed towards the Killie legend, big Boydie is still the best source of goals at the club. He can’t really run and can’t really jump but he knows where the goal is. He’s one goal away from 100 league strikes at Killie and I really hope he smashes in one or two on Saturday. C’mon Boomer, show us your worth against the Highlanders!