Blogs & Opinion


Andy Walker says Kilmarnock must start fast against Celtic

Andy Walker - Andy Walker Posted 24th September 2013 view comments

Kilmarnock manager Allan Johnston must urge his players to begin brightly when they take on Scottish Premiership champions Celtic on Saturday

It hasn't been an easy start to Johnston's reign as manager of Kilmarnock and the challenges don't come much bigger than Saturday's clash at Rugby Park against Scottish champions Celtic in front of the live Sky cameras.

Allan Johnston: faces a stern test in preparing Kilmarnock

Allan Johnston: faces a stern test in preparing Kilmarnock

Having seen them play in their last two league fixtures at home to Inverness Caley Thistle and then last weekend at Firhill against Partick Thistle, Killie's biggest problem right now is how they start games.

They were slow and cumbersome for the entire first half against Terry Butcher's men and were fortunate to only be one goal behind at the interval.

It's true to say that the Kilmarnock fans are an angry bunch these days and have very little patience.

Andy Walker
Quotes of the week

It was no surprise to me that after getting an equaliser they gave away another goal to lose all three points.

Similarly, they were outplayed for the majority of the opening 45 minutes against Partick Thistle but were able to raise their game in the second period to claim a point.

Fanfare

After enjoying a wonderful season with Queen of the South, Johnston has yet to convince the Kilmarnock fans that he can reach the heights of his predecessor Kenny Shiels.

I was surprised to hear them chanting, "you don't know what you're doing" when he substituted Rabiu Ibrahim late in the game.

It's true to say that the Kilmarnock fans are an angry bunch these days and have very little patience.

The majority didn't agree with chairman Michael Johnston when he sacked League Cup winner Shiels and it doesn't help the new manager's case when he has still to guide his team to a victory after seven games in the SPFL.

Losing tamely at home to Hamilton Accies in the League Cup was a blow to potentially going far in that tournament and generating some much-needed revenue for the club.

It was no surprise to see Kris Boyd getting back on the scoresheet at Firhill.

It seems to me to be the most ineffective use of his talents to play him as a lone striker.

After a poor 45 minutes against Thistle when he was isolated for long periods, he came alive in the second half with a headed goal and was unlucky not to score again.

Expectations

In contrast to the pressure Johnston is under, his opposite number deals with constant demands on his team to get results.

Neil Lennon has just started another Champions League campaign and no doubt will have one eye on next Tuesday's mouth-watering prospect of Barcelona at Celtic Park when he considers his starting eleven.

One man who needs game time is Finnish Striker Teemu Pukki. Signed from Schalke on a four-year deal, the 23-year old has the potential to score at any level.

A combination of his international experience and pace suggests he'll get the nod over Antony Stokes for Champions League clashes but Lennon is determined his team can keep up a winning habit in Ayrshire.

Anyone who takes his foot off the gas by considering this fixture a low-key affair will surely be left out, and given the quality of strikers on view, I expect more than a few goals at Rugby Park on Saturday.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Ray Wilkins

Wilkins: Rooney for captain

Ray Wilkins says Wayne Rooney is the "standout candidate" for the England captaincy....

Jamie Carragher

Carra: Gerrard hard to replace

Jamie Carragher says there’s no natural replacement for Steven Gerrard in the England team....

Martin Tyler

Tyler: We need Stevie's values

Steven Gerrard can inspire the next generation of England stars even in retirement, says Martin Tyler....

Latest News RSS feeds

LVG praises 'fantastic' United

Louis van Gaal praised his 'fantastic' Manchester United side after their 7-0 pre-season victory over LA Galaxy.

Live transfer updates

Frank Lampard to be unveiled in USA, Gylfi Sigurdsson moves to Swansea, while Spurs sign Ben Davies and Michel Vorm.

Bale: La Liga is world's best

Real Madrid midfielder Gareth Bale believes Spain's La Liga is superior to the Barclays Premier League.

Rodgers keeps strategic focus

Brendan Rodgers insists he will not blow the Luis Suarez windfall - and will only make strategic signings for Liverpool.

Suarez debut could be at Real

Banned striker Luis Suarez could make his Barcelona debut in the first El Clasico of the new La Liga season.

Features

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has found early success with 3-5-2 and might be tempted to stick with it

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has found early success with 3-5-2 and might be tempted to stick with it

One of the first questions put to Louis van Gaal in his opening press conference as Manchester United manager was whether he would be introducing the same formation and philosophy right through the club’s youth system.

Could new signing Cheikhou Kouyate from Anderlecht give West Ham the platform to play under Sam Allardyce?

Could new signing Cheikhou Kouyate from Anderlecht give West Ham the platform to play under Sam Allardyce?

Following a season that left some in the stands and the board room dissatisfied with West Ham’s efforts, the appointment of Teddy Sheringham as an attacking coach was seen as a symbol of a new era of intent. But the signs are that Sam Allardyce will continue to do things his way.

Why new signing Willy Caballero has the ability to usurp Joe Hart as Manchester City's first-choice goalkeeper

Why new signing Willy Caballero has the ability to usurp Joe Hart as Manchester City's first-choice goalkeeper

With Joe Hart celebrating title success with Manchester City after five consecutive wins to finish the season, it is easy to forget that for the second campaign in a row the England goalkeeper had struggled.