Derek McInnes ‘desperate’ for Kilmarnock title win as he hopes Arbroath fairytale won’t get happy ending


Derek McInnes isn’t concerned about fairytales at Arbroath.

The Kilmarnock boss is only interested in writing his club’s own fantastic story.

McInnes is excited for Friday’s Championship showdown and the chance to take Killie back to the Premiership.

When he walked in the door at Rugby Park at the beginning of the year, the club’s aspirations of making an instant return to the top flight were faltering badly.

McInnes has turned it around. From five points behind, he’s got the Ayrshire outfit one in front with two games to go.

The town is buying into the charge. The home sections have sold out.

There’s no nerves for McInnes, just drive and anticipation. He took on the job in the first place for this opportunity and now it’s about finishing the job.

Across the UK, neutrals have bought into the Arbroath feel good story.

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Dick Campbell’s part-timers still have a chance to win the title with two games to go and their run is being compared to Leicester’s Premier League success.

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McInnes knows all this but insists Killie have their own chapters to write.

He said: “The only thing I am caring about is looking after Kilmarnock.

“I understand the fairytale aspect, the whole part-time thing shows you what can be done. I get it but it just gives me even more resolve.

“We’ve been trying to get this club moving in three months. Something had to change to get us moving.

“Arbroath have been working together for three years, you can see the benefits of that. Their players are good enough to play full-time.

“I understand it will be a fantastic story for them but I only care about Kilmarnock.

“It will be a fantastic story for us after being five points behind, having it all to do, not just rolling over and accepting anything other than driving the club on.

“We understand the importance of this season and the fact that the game we have gives us a chance to win a league, for the club to feel good about ourselves again, for the supporters to be rewarded for consistently turning up.

“When the club was relegated, season-ticket sales and commercial sales went through the roof. The support stood by the club, who did everything they could to put everything in place to go straight back up, so I’d be delighted for so many people.

“But I’d rather talk about that once we have achieved something.

“I understand there is maybe more expectation and pressure on us but that’s been there since the first game.

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“We now have a chance to finish off some brilliant work by the players over the past few months. That’s a brilliant story for Kilmarnock.”

McInnes is embracing the expectation. His management of him has taken him to major cup finals, huge league games and cracks at Europe.

The intensity, the scrutiny, the demands to deliver. That’s what he signed up for and he said: “I always wanted to get to our last home game knowing that, if we won, it would be significant.

“That’s where we are. We need to try and overcome a strong opponent, our biggest challenger.

“I’m really enjoying the build-up. There will be a bigger crowd and there will be more scrutiny on the game.

“But that goes hand in hand with what’s expected of us here. We have all signed up to do exactly one thing and that’s to take the club back into the top flight.

“We can only be the animal we want to be if we are in the Premiership, so for us it is to try to win this league.

“Then we can take a breath but I’m reluctant to speak too much before then because I have too much respect for the league.

“We’ve never pretended to be better than anybody else but we’ve always believed we’re good enough to win games regularly and that’s what we’ve done.

“I have a healthy regard for each and every team in the division, particularly Arbroath.”

McInnes is close. Now it’s just one last push and he concluded: “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind. I feel as though I’ve been here for more than three months, to be honest.

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“But I’m really enjoying being here and I’m just desperate to play my part in getting the club back to where it should be.”




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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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