At just 23 years old Mark Connolly is one of the youngest captains in the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership but the defender has a good head on those young shoulders and appreciates the hard work that goes into running a club.
The former Bolton Wanderers and Crawley Town man is anticipating a successful season with Killie and thinks with the new arrivals at the club the fans could be in for a solid showing.
Here he tells us why he loves Kilmarnock FC…
Why do you love Kilmarnock FC?
We’ve got a great group of lads, a great fan base and it’s a family club. Since I arrived they’ve made me feel at home and looked after my family and made them feel at home, so that’s why I love the club.
Describe the fans and what they mean to the club
The fans are brilliant. They were behind us even when we were struggling last year, which was good. When we’re doing well they’re really loud and bring a really great crowd to away games. On social media they’re always telling you how well you’ve done and even if you’ve not had a good game they pick you up.
What’s the vibe like in the dressing room?
It’s really good. We’ve got a few loud characters. Some have got really bad banter. Some think they’ve got great banter but they haven’t really.
It’s pretty relaxed during the week. But come game day the banter gets turned off. We’ve signed a lot of new players. Boydy and Higginbotham are two obvious ones so we’ve signed some good new players so hopefully we can do well this season.
Can you name a Kilmarnock Backroom Hero?
I’m going to go for one of the groundsmen Mark Gallagher. Gal’s been there around 20 years. He’s a groundsman but he helps with everything. Even with my family, if I need something and it’s out of hours he’s always there to help out.
What do you love most about being a Kilmarnock footballer?
I just enjoy playing football every day. I’m lucky in that regard. Don’t get me wrong it can be difficult. Moving away from Ireland and my family at 15 was hard but playing every day in front of big crowds and having people shout your name – sometimes good, sometime bad – is what I love most.