Kilmarnock’s bright young things point to years of success ahead

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We’ve already heaped praise on Lee Clark’s big-name signings at Rugby Park this season, but it’s Kilmarnock’s emerging youth products who are providing much of the backbone for the side’s current good form.

Killie’s academy has produced a wealth of excellent players throughout the club’s history – just look at the local lads who made up their title-winning team of 1964-65. And after five difficult seasons in the league’s lower echelons, the next crop of youngsters are offering a bright future for the East Ayrshire club.

Teenagers Adam Frizell and Greg Taylor have both risen from the youth setup to command a regular spot in midfield thanks to their pace, stamina and creativity. Meanwhile combative defensive midfielder Dean Hawkshaw impressed before his desperately unfortunate cruciate injury.

However, the most exciting prospect from the club’s academy is surely 16-year-old Jack Paterson. On the cusp of the first-team already, the graduate of the SFA Performance Schools looks to possess enormous talent.

Elsewhere, Clark’s contacts in English football have come in handy, with the experienced gaffer managing to tempt some of the Premier League’s exciting young talents to the home of the Killie pie.

Former Sunderland prodigy Martin Smith has already chipped in with a goal and several excellent displays since his summer arrival, while the likes of Joshua Webb and Jonathan Burn are already proving to be reliable figures at the back.

With the youngsters increasingly being blooded in the first team, and Killie chalking up seven points from their last three Ladbrokes Premiership games, the correlation is clear – hold onto the progressing talents who are getting results, and the coming years could be very bright indeed for the Rugby Park club.

Kilmarnock are next in action at Rangers on Saturday, where they’re 8/1 for victory – and 7/1 to lead at half-time, as they did during August’s meeting with the Ibrox club.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.