Derek McInnes desperate to stay top of the league as Kilmarnock gear up for QOS clash


Derek McInnes is desperate to stay on top after finally getting a taste of it this week.

Kilmarnock’s 3-1 Ayrshire Derby win combined with Arbroath’s defeat in Inverness ensured the Rugby Park men sit at the Scottish Championship summit heading into the final seven games, the first time since December 3.

And now the Killie boss wants to ensure they aren’t moved from the sharp end of the table as they gear up for a home clash against Queen of the South on Saturday, a team who are fighting to stay in the division.

McInnes said: “It has been a while, it’s nice to be there but I still reinforce the message that we need to try and stay there for as long as we can and hopefully when all the games are played we are top.

“We really respect the league, not just the teams round about us who are good teams, but also the rest of the league where everyone is fighting for something.

“We have worked hard to get to where we are, since we came in we’ve won 20 points out of 30, no one has won more in that time.

“We need to try and give that, and more, until the end of the season.

“I said pre-match last week that you can get a real feel-good factor about the place, it was a great night for the club and supporters, it was great to win the game.

“When the dust settles it’s three points, it’s the three points that got us top of the league.

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“I was really pleased with the performance, having watched it back I’d have liked us to take advantage of the extra man, but ultimately the job was to win a tough away game and thankfully we did that.

“Now the focus is on Queen of the South, they have their own challenges as they are trying to stay in the league, they will come up here with a game plan and an appetite to get something from the game.

“We can’t afford to sit back and enjoy being top of the league, we need to be more determined to stay there, and that means a big performance on Saturday.”

McInnes reckons that nothing will change now that Killie have become the hunted after being the hunters for so long.

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He said: “I think it’s the same pressure if you’re top or chasing.

“Since we came in we’ve said to the boys that our responsibility is to win the league, we don’t shy away from it. That is plain and simple what the demand on us is.

“We are happy to embrace that, we are a club that after 28 years in the Premiership we find ourselves out of the league, so we want to get straight back up.

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“The players who were here as part of the relegated team, the players who came in during summer, and those who came in January, we all have the responsibility of getting this club back up.

“Hopefully on Saturday we can take another step towards that, but we fully respect every team, no one is going to give us anything, we need to work for it.”

He added: “The home form gives me confidence going into the next two games, but more importantly it should give the players confidence.

“We’ve won the last few league games in the league at home, that sort of form is what we are after.

“We have got four league games left at home, and it’s important we try and maximize that.

“The result against Ayr will hopefully attract a healthy crowd on Saturday, it’s important we build trust between the supporters and the team.

“It helps each time you win, at home in particular, so hopefully the fans are desperate to get to the game and see the team win, everyone has a role to play.

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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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