Football - Clark wants Killie pulling together

Kilmarnock assistant boss Sandy Clark insists the Rugby Park squad cannot use the off-field turmoil at the club as an excuse for their wretched start to the season.

PA Sport Report
Football - Clark wants Killie pulling together

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Kilmarnock manager Allan Johnston, left, holds his head as his assistant Sandy Clark looks on

Killie have yet to win a game under new manager Allan Johnston but most of the flak from disgruntled fans has been directed towards chairman Michael Johnstone.

He upset supporters by giving Celtic season-ticket holders the chance to buy discounted tickets for last weekend's 5-2 Scottish Premiership defeat - but failed to offer the Kilmarnock faithful the same deal.

The boardroom boss later offered a compromise involving free tickets and money-off vouchers but it was not enough to stop enraged fans from staging a protest outside Rugby Park ahead of the Hoops clash.

But Clark does not believe the on-going rows between the chairman and fans - ignited by the summer sacking of former boss Kenny Shiels - can be blamed for results on the pitch.

He said: "The off-field stuff is distracting for the fans and, from the chairman's point of view, is not ideal. We all need to be pulling in the right direction.

"But for me, I don't think it affects the football side one little bit. There's no way we could ever use that as an excuse for performances on the park.

"The crowds are down but that's not a major factor either. You obviously want to get as many of your own fans in the ground as possible but the ones there certainly back us well and if we can win a couple of games then that will help bring a few of the fans back.

"The players on the park need to be professional and to be honest, the protests and stuff are not something they ever mention."

Clark was number two to Allan Johnston as they led Queen of the South to a Second Division and Ramsdens Cup double last year.

But since taking over the reins with Killie, they have mustered just three draws from nine games in charge.

However, Clark does insists the manager is not getting it easy while the fans argue with the chairman.

"The chairman's situation is there, it's been there for a while and I don't know too much about it," he said. "It's not our job to get involved.

"As for pressure on Allan, I don't think there is any. If there is, it is self-inflicted. He wants to win badly, as I do, and we believe it will come.

"It's funny to look back on where we were a year ago at Queens when we were winning every game. The situation now is sore but we don't think we are far away from turning it around."

And Clark denied the Killie players' spirits have dipped as results continue to disappoint.

He said: "With the psychology, you guys the media are always going to bring it up because we haven't won a game - and rightly so, because we haven't.

"But we are not the only ones and we are not bottom of the league. So it's not all gloom and doom. But the only way we can shut you guys up is to start winning games."

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