Clarke: Pre-winter break points key to top six push

Clarke: Pre-winter break points key to top six push

in #KillieStories November 11, 2018

Steve Clarke says picking up plenty of points before January's winter break will be key to Killie's push to make the top six.

In an extremely competitive Scottish Premiership, Killie rose to third place after a 1-0 triumph over league leaders Hearts at Tynecastle.

After the pain of last weekend's 2-1 defeat to Aberdeen, the Killie boss believes the team have let a few points slip from their grasp as they prepare for a congested seven-game schedule in December.

"I think we should have more points.

"I think we should be higher in the league. I am probably a little bit disappointed with our points tally to be honest.

"But it is nice at this stage of the season to be so far away from the bottom two and if we can pick up a lot more points over the next eight matches over the winter break then maybe, if we do it properly between now and the winter break, then we can think about mounting a serious challenge for the top six again."

The manager left Jamie MacDonald on the bench following his Scotland call up while Northern Ireland international Jordan Jones was also among the substitutes.

Confirming Stephen O'Donnell would miss Scotland's UEFA Nations League double-header but could return in time for our December 1 clash with Hibernian, Clarke praised those who came into the side.

He said: "We’re delighted to get back on track, it was disappointing for us last week where we allowed a game to slip away from us that we should never have lost against Aberdeen. I would have been disappointed with a draw to be honest.

"It was important that we bounced back and got back to good defensive habits with a clean sheet. If we keep a clean sheet then we’ve got players who can nick us a goal.

"Jamie is fine but it was a manager’s decision and sometimes you have to make these calls. We’ve had Daniel Bachmann in since August and he’s been fantastic, worked really hard in training and he deserved a start. He showed today that he can be a very good goalkeeper in the future.

"It’s good for Ross Millen, you have to be very patient when you’re understudy right back to a Scotland international. He waited on his chance and I thought he took it and defended very well and got forward to get us the all-important goal."

A total of 1,115 Killie fans packed into the away section at Tynecastle and the Killie boss was happy to see so many happy faces head back to Ayrshire.

"The supporters have really bought into what we’re trying to do. The away support was great, the home support is getting bigger so compliments to them" he added.