Return of the six-pointer
It's another crucial match as we begin to run out of games to save our season. Kilmarnock are the visitors on Saturday after the inconvenience of International weekend. In actual fact, they are all crucial now, and after the last outings turnaround in results with County and Killie salvaging draws, then we need to start making the most of home advantage. That means having a go Richie rather than waiting for something to happen. It did last time out, unfortunately at the wrong end. How steep is this learning curve, it's almost vertical now.
We lost a vital two points against County that would have dragged them right down into the thick of the relegation tussle. Greg Tansey had given us the lead just after the break but a late goal from Alex Schalk evened up matters. When the dust had settled after another frenetic derby it was a point apiece and no one could grumble if I'm being honest. In saying that, both sides had chances to win the game, but as has been the case for most of the season, we failed to take advantage when on top and our defensive record speaks for itself, abysmal. This result keeps us in the relegation turmoil whilst County still harbour hopes of a top-six slot. (Who are they kidding)
Killie salvaged a point thanks to an incredible blunder by Partick's keeper when he failed to stop a trundling effort. The ball seemed to slap off him and squirm it's way into the net. Unbelievable Geoff! Chris Erskine looked to have given Partick all three points but Conor Sammon squeezed the ball home from distance thanks to an horrific cock-up by Tomas Cerny, straight out of the Fon Williams book of blunderful saves. Killie have been a bit Jekyll and Hyde this season, but have surprised many by their league position, sitting eight points above Inverness and only two behind Partick in sixth place.
Look away now Tomas.................
You have to go back eleven games since Killie last beat Inverness in the Highlands. It was seven years ago in December 2010 when they won 1-3. Craig Bryson, Liam Kelly and Jamie Hamill did the damage Hamill scoring from a rebound after his penalty had been saved by Ryan Esson. A certain Mr Richie Foran scored the Inverness goal that day. Since then, it has been five home wins and five draws. That statistic would appear to make Inverness the favourites on paper, but in reality, Killie have been better equipped this season and their league position is healthier than ours at the moment. They are however the second lowest scoring side in the division with only twenty-eight goals, five fewer than us. Their defence is eight better off than ours. That all adds up to a goal difference of minus seventeen compared to minus twenty for Inverness, which means every goal scored will count double in the goal difference stakes.
Iain Vigurs crocked himself in the Highland derby and will possibly miss the rest of the season with ankle ligament damage. Carl Tremarco also took a knock in the derby and will miss another couple of weeks. Ryan Esson, Josh Meekings, Aaron Doran and Lewis Horner are out long term. Jake Mulraney missed the last game but hopes to have recovered sufficiently to be included in the squad for this one. Jamie McCart played for Scotland u21 in midweek and along with Louis Laing could keep his place in defence, although Gary Warren's experience could be vital. David Raven could be used at left back again and Kevin McNaughton is fit enough to be included after his lengthy time out. Brad Mckay will also be pushing for a start and Liam Polworth needs to stand up and be counted now that Vigurs is missing.
Killie's interim manager Lee McCulloch will be without the suspended Luke Hendrie. Steven Smith is struggling for fitness although could be available, but Greg Kiltie is not ready for action yet.
And finally, the worlds worst kept secret has become public knowledge. It has been announced that Greg Tansey will be leaving in the summer to join the rest of his former colleagues at Pittodrie. Well blow me down. It's a bit untimely given our predicament, but I'm sure Greg will not want a relegation on his CV and will be trying his utmost to get us away from the bottom.
tm4tj prediction:- As I said above, Killies season should be seen as a success thus far. They have some flair players capable of hurting the opposition. Greg Kiltie and Rory McKenzie to name a couple and Conor Sammon is always a danger with his pace and eye for goal. He has scored three goals since his return to Killie in seven appearances. We need to be more aggressive at home, but not to the detriment of our fragile defence. We have a scorer in Billy Mckay, but he needs some service. If we can get bodies forward to help him out then I see no reason that we can't take all three points, but given that we don't do nil-nil in this fixture then it could be a scoring draw which will not do us any favours.
Killie still have hopes of top-six, we hope to be playing in the top league next season. With Killie playing Rangers, Celtic and Hearts after they come North, they might feel that this is the one they should be winning and will go for the jugular. It could get messy, but let's get behind the guys and give them every encouragement we can.
Other games around us that we will be keeping an eye on.
Dundee 0 - 7 Aberdeen (Friday) Oooooft, that's a hammering. Looking forward to Tuesday night now!
Hamilton v St Johnstone
Partick v Ross County
Rangers v Motherwell