Kilmarnock v Arbroath: Derek McInnes wants to avoid fairytale and says comeback story would be fantastic

Fairytales don’t exist – not in Derek McInnes’ imagination this week anyway.

The Kilmarnock boss acknowledges how impressive Arbroath’s story would be should they win the Scottish Championship, but he reckons Kilmarnock’s comeback story would be a best-seller.

The two sides square-off on Friday night at a near sell-out Rugby Park live on BBC Scotland and a Killie win will clinch them their first league title in 57 years.

And with the Ayrshire side lying five points behind just two months ago, McInnes reckons it’s a good story should his side get the job done.

The Killie boss said: “I can understand that neutrals want Arbroath to win, I get it, but it just gives me even more resolve.

“We are Killie, we are Kilmarnock, everyone recognizes that and the only thing I am caring about is looking after Kilmarnock.

“I understand the fairytale aspect, I think the whole part-time thing shows you what can be done.

“Although we have some obvious advantages at Killie, the crowd, the players, I’ve only had three months working with the players.

“Arbroath have been working together and put that squad together over three years, you can see the benefits of that, they have good players.

“Like I have said before, their players are good enough to play full-time, it suits them to be part-time and it shows what can be done.

“I understand it will be a fantastic story for Arbroath, but I am only caring about Kilmarnock, and this would be a fantastic story for us after being five points behind them having it all to do.

“We didn’t just roll over and accept anything other than driving the club on, the level of performances and character has given us a chance to be top of the league to finish off the hard work of the players.”

McInnes had a sneaking suspicion that this match would end up being decisive.

He said: “It does have that big game feel, to be honest, I always felt that it would come down to this game. There was a time when we were five points behind Arbroath and I always wanted to get to our last home game knowing that, if we won, it would be significant.

“We weren’t doing a lot then to suggest that might happen but the form of the players since then has helped us to get into this position, which is where we hoped we would be.

“When you have belief in the capabilities of the team you’re managing then you relish games like this. A week like this is there to be enjoyed, although it would be different if you didn’t have that faith in your players.

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“There’s always a natural hangover from losing any game and Inverness last Friday was the first we’d lost in months. We’re annoyed and irritated by the fact we were ahead and allowed the match to run away from us when we were in such a strong position but, once you overcome that, it was always about this game anyway.

“We can take care of business with our home form. We have the chance to win a league, our home form has been terrific and no team has succeeded without that.

“That’s where we are. We need to try and overcome a strong opponent – ​​our biggest challenger – on Friday night.

“I’m really enjoying the build-up to it. It’s basically been the same as usual but there’s a little bit more on it because the fans have responded so well. There will be a bigger crowd and there will be more scrutiny on the game.

“That goes hand in hand with what’s expected of us here.”

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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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