Yet, after all this time, the well-travelled forward can still have his eyes opened to new ideas – and that’s what he says Derek McInnes has brought to Rugby Park.
From Tommy Wright’s steady, methodical build-up, Killie have become a bright side with attacking verve since McInnes took over at Rugby Park.
Fast transitioning in both senses, he has quickly changed Kilmarnock for the better, proven by their rapid return up the table to second, and potentially top if things go their way in a top of the table clash with Arbroath on Friday night.
He’s changed the style, and the team, utilizing Daniel Mackay’s prodigious pace that provided Lafferty with the first goal of his second spell, and three points from Inverness.
McInnes’ methods can also change the Northern Irish striker for the better – improving an experienced pro who scored 13 goals in three months last year and returned to the scoresheet with the weekend winner.
“I’ve done a few things in training that I haven’t done with a few, or any other, managers. It’s good,” said Lafferty. “He’s brought a lot of different ideas to my game and he’s brought different ideas to the Kilmarnock team. I think if we want to get promoted, he’s probably the right guy to be in charge.”
That is the end goal – righting the wrong of last season that saw 28-years in the top flight ended in the play-offs by Dundee. Prospects are beginning to look up – especially after Saturday’s incisive win – Kilmarnock are now at their highest league position since November.
“I was part of the team who got relegated and obviously I didn’t do enough to keep them up,” said Lafferty, which seems rather harsh on himself after he hit eight goals in eight league starts – and is now one in one this term. “A few of the lads are still here from last season so we are all wanting to get the team up. We’re a Premiership team – if you want to call it an unfinished business that’s what it is.
“I’ve come here to score goals and help the team.
“There are a lot of young players who will go on to have great careers and senior players who want to add a promotion to their CVs. We have the mix of a good squad and we’ll fight to the end.”
McInnes may well add to it today [Monday]. Although content with the players he has, Scott Allan remains a possible target and could be classed among the “one or two different types who could help with the challenges ahead,” that the manager is still looking for.
Their next challenge is at Gayfield on Friday night which could take Kilmarnock top, live on television, but Lafferty is playing it down.
“It’s an important game for us, just like every game from now until the end of the season. It’s always going to be a battle, so it’ll be just another game for us.” And number 496 for the experienced Northern Irishman.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.