SPFL Fans’ Preview: Kilmarnock nut hoping for top-six finish
We’re back to bring you the latest of our Ladbrokes SPFL Fans’ Previews. In the build-up to the new campaign we’re asking a cross-section of passionate supporters how they think their side will get on and who’ll shine this season.
Barry Richmond is our resident Rugby Park expert. He is a Kilmarnock diehard, as well as being chief at the Killie FC site and forum.
Here’s how he’s calling it…
If you could sign one star from the past…
It would have be the good lord Wullie Watters. A prince among men and a Killie legend. We may have had players with more pace, more skill, more mobility and even some that were more prolific in front of goal… but I’ve never been so happy as when the good lord walked among us.
Tommy Burns and Iain Durrant (and possibly Alexei Eremenko) narrowly missing out here.
I’m most excited about this season because…
The shareholders have called for an EGM to get shot of ex-chairman Michael Johnston from the board.
If this were to happen it would give the whole place a lift and the opportunity of new investment, a fresh start and to turn things around after far too many years of being on a downward spiral.
We’ve also had a big turnaround of players and it will be great to see what Lee Clark can get out of them.
I’m least excited about this season because…
The League Cup has gone back to having sections which gives us more home games. The point of that was to allow us to expand the number of teams in the SPFL and let us play each other once at home and once away which has not happened.
Also, the current league set up needs a bit of a re-think. If a shake-up doesn’t work then we could just change back or try something else? I think there should be more fan involvement in decisions like this.
Two songs that define your side?
Paper Roses is an obvious choice as we are famous for singing it and the reasons behind that are still shrouded in the annals of time.
I’ve heard plenty of stories surrounding how it all came about, the most likely being some of the lads from the supporters buses just liked it when it was in the charts back in the 1970s and started singing it when steamboats at an away game.
Whatever the case, it’s ours and we’re keeping it.
Killie ’Til I Die (to the tune of H-A-P-P-Y) is another one.
Our fans sang this for ninety minutes solid while getting tanked on the park at Kaiserslautern in the UEFA Cup many years back now.
We have had a solid friendship with their fans ever since as they admired our ability to laugh in the face of adversity and party on regardless.
It defines what being a Killie fan is all about. You don’t have to be born into it but when you’ve followed the team as our lot have through thick and (very) thin then you will always have the team in your heart and be a part of the community.
Without fans there is no football, we are no exception to that, our core support is the lifeblood of the club.
Actor that would play your gaffer in a film and why?
I’m going for Charlie Hunnam. Firstly he’s from Newcastle originally so the accent wouldn’t be a problem.
Secondly he plays a hard as nails biker type bloke in ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and he’s the leader of our club as well. Lastly, because I’m pretty sure that Lee Clark would be chuffed someone picked Hunnam to play him and I’d like to keep in his good books!
Greg Kiltie. As a local boy he knows what it is all about to play for the shirt and more than that he has the talent necessary to make a real difference to the team.
Whether coming in from a wider position or playing off a striker, he is a fantastic link between the midfield and the front line and will chip in with more than his fair share of goals and assists given the right support around him.
Signed a new contract for us last year when he had bigger offers from elsewhere, you can’t just buy loyalty like that and its an example to the younger players we have coming through.
At the moment it seems to be positions rather than specific players. And to be fair we have so many new boys in it is hard to tell at this stage who has it and who doesn’t.
We’ve tried a few at right back but no one so far seems to have claimed the spot as their own and there is a definite lack of creativity emanating from the centre of midfield, with both McKenzie and Kiltie being more comfortable playing further forward.
We need someone in the engine room who can put their foot on the ball and dictate play a bit more.
So far it looks like Souleymane Coulibaly. He’s scored five goals in four games, three of which have been worldies, done celebratory back and forward flips, kissed the squirrels (Killie fans know what that means, no squirrels are harmed) and dedicated his brace in the League Cup comeback win to the fans.
I think there could be a few more headlines to come from the lad.
Young player to watch this season?
We have so many young players that have been brought in and are emerging from the youth teams that it is difficult to pinpoint just one. Purely going on the matches I have seen so far it looks like the stick out could be Jordan Jones, but he’s 21 so maybe out of this category.
From the development squad Jack Whittaker really looked the part in a recent testimonial when he came on, I’ll opt for him.
I’d like to say third or fourth but in truth I’ll be happy with anything above the bottom two places. I don’t have strong enough pants to withstand any more play-off games. Let’s settle for sixth, that’s optimistic with a brand new squad, right?
Surely has to be the East end Barras boys, no? Celtic have the infrastructure and finance to see off everyone else in the league and I liked Rodgers when he was at Swansea so I’d imagine he will be able to do something with them.
Nope, not giving it to the new boys, too early for them although no doubt they will buy themselves a place in the top six for certain.
I still think that the mutton munchers from Aberdeen will finish second. Their fans are up in arms about moving from Pittodrie to a new stadium. It’s chanking up there, I suggest they move to Barbados.
Hamilton. At least I hope its Hamilton. Anti-football time wasting pain in the back sides, and that’s just their good points. What do they bring to the top division really? In short nothing, that’s what. I don’t like Hamilton much, can you tell?
Top Goalscorer pick?
Souleymane Coulibaly will be in double figures by November and break records before the season is out. It’s called wishful thinking, or delusion, it’s worth a fiver at the cream cookies though, you heard it here first!
Surprise team of the season?
Kilmarnock! We are one of the favourites to go down but hope springs eternal.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing