Rory McKenzie details how Kilmarnock plan to frustrate Celtic at Rugby Park

·3-min read
Rory McKenzie details how Kilmarnock plan to frustrate Celtic at Rugby Park
Rory McKenzie details how Kilmarnock plan to frustrate Celtic at Rugby Park

IT was Bobby Williamson who famously remarked that anyone seeking entertainment of a Saturday would be better off heading to their local cinema rather than turning up to watch his Hibs team.

It is an ethos being embraced by another of his former clubs, Kilmarnock, as they prepare to welcome Celtic to Rugby Park tomorrow lunchtime.

Killie may be new to the Premiership after a season slumming it in the Championship but they are sufficiently street-smart to know that trying to take on the Premiership champions at their own game is likely only going to end one way.

Derek McInnes’ side successfully frustrated Rangers at Ibrox last weekend for 50 minutes and will set out to do the same when the other half of the Old Firm are in town.

They make no apologies for doing so. Celtic may have designs on retaining their title but Kilmarnock have their own goals for the year ahead. Taking a point or better from tomorrow’s visitors will go a long way to bringing that into fruition.

“If we go toe-to-toe with Celtic there will only be one winner,” admitted forward Rory McKenzie who played in two previous wins over the Parkhead club during Steve Clarke’s time in charge.

“We will be set up to stop them playing, make fouls, slow it down then try to play when we get the ball. We don’t want it to be a free-flowing spectacle.

“There’s nothing wrong with that. We got results under Steve Clarke and never played out from the back. It was about being hard to play against and making it tough for them.

“They have good players and if you give them time it will be an easy afternoon for them. I watched some of Celtic’s games last season and you can see how well they handle the ball and how well they move. We need to get against them to stop them.

“We weren't there to entertain the Rangers fans [last weekend], we were there to get a result for Kilmarnock and this game is the same.”

McKenzie remains friendly with former team-mate Greg Taylor who has flourished since swapping Rugby Park for Celtic Park three years ago, holding off the threat so far of new left-back Alexander Bernabei.

“I’m pleased for him and what he has achieved,” he added. “He came on the scene later on than some players and he was flung in at the deep end but did well.

“He’s gone on to great things and he’s beginning to prove himself. We know how good he is and he’s beginning to show the Celtic fans that as well. He was Mr Consistent here and he did his job well. He came in at a good time when we had a good team under Steve and he flourished.

“He has now reaped the rewards by getting his move to Celtic. He has come from Kilmarnock and at times he was the scapegoat. I’m pleased for him but we have to forget about friendships this weekend.”

This will be McInnes’ first meeting with Ange Posetcoglou having admired from afar the job being done by the Celtic manager.

“I’ve never met him, it’s just been a couple of texts back and forth,” said the Kilmarnock boss. “But like everyone else, there is a high regard with how he conducts himself. I liked the cut of his jib from the start and how he was.

“I admired how he was at the outset when he was clearly given a rough and bad hand in terms of the turnover of players and not being ready at the start of last season and, when results didn’t come, he didn’t make any excuses. I liked that.”