Derek McInnes urging players to take responsibility as Kilmarnock chase survival
Kilmarnock boss Derek McInnes has urged his players to take responsibility ahead of a decisive week in their battle to avoid relegation.
Killie were beaten 1-0 at home by St Johnstone on Saturday and McInnes was left frustrated after seeing his team concede a goal from a set-piece, Saints captain Liam Gordon heading home after 11 minutes.
The Rugby Park outfit now head into their final two league fixtures lying 10th in the cinch Premiership – a point ahead of Ross County and three ahead of rock-bottom Dundee United.
Their last two matches see them travel to Tannadice to face United on Wednesday, before wrapping up their campaign with a home fixture against County.
“It’s not just effort and performance, to get results you need discipline, calmness, composure at the right times and need to keep that sense of what is in front of you,” McInnes said.
“There is also a sense of responsibility, and nothing illustrates responsibility more than set-plays.
“We need to go to Tannadice, we’ve beat them up there in the cup and they beat us in the league – so there’s a performance in us.
“A win there would do everyone the world of good, we need big performances and a lot of responsibility to try get the job done.
“Tenth is where we are, and we need to do so much to remain there.
“We’ve got it all to do clearly, but we want to make sure that on Sunday, coming here to play Ross County, that we are on the back of a positive result and it’s all to play for.”
McInnes admits that losses for both Dundee United and Ross County on Saturday came as a slight consolation in the aftermath of their defeat to St Johnstone.
It means that Kilmarnock’s fate remains in their own hands, and the Killie boss has set his sights on winning a three-way battle for survival.
“I deliberately didn’t know even when I addressed the players the scores for the other teams,” he added.
“You automatically assume that someone has gained on you but it’s another game down and two games to go.
“We’re sitting in 10th spot and as I said a few weeks ago, 10th is first for us.”
St Johnstone manager Steven MacLean heaped praise on the impact of Cammy Ballantyne in their crucial win at Kilmarnock.
The midfielder was handed his Premiership debut at Rugby Park, his first appearance for Saints since returning from a loan spell at Montrose in January.
“He’s been great all week and since I took over,” MacLean said.
“I showed him little bits and pieces on Friday morning and told him he was going to be playing, I don’t think he expected it to be honest.
“I’m delighted for him. I’m just disappointed his dad couldn’t get off work and his girlfriend wasn’t there but he was fantastic. It’s up to him to kick-on now.”