‘We’re an even longer shot than Le­ices­ter City were for league ti­tle win’

Evening Times - - SPORT -

KILMARNOCK man­ager Steve Clarke spoke last night of his be­lief that his ta­ble-top­ping Kilmarnock side can “stay com­pet­i­tive” in the Lad­brokes Premier­ship – but in­sisted the odds of them ‘do­ing a Le­ices­ter’ and win­ning the ti­tle re­main more heav­ily stacked against them than they were against Clau­dio Ranieri’s side prior to their his­toric 2015-16 league win.

While Clarke made light of chair­man Billy Bowie’s claim yes­ter­day morn­ing that the shock De­cem­ber league lead­ers can win their first top-flight ti­tle since 1965, he praised the men­tal­ity of a group of play­ers who will travel to Celtic Park for a top-of-the-ta­ble clash to­day and said they were ca­pa­ble of keep­ing their good run go­ing.

“I be­lieve this team can stay com­pet­i­tive,” said Clarke. “If I didn’t be­lieve that I would just go home.

“But with all due re­spect to Le­ices­ter, who were fan­tas­tic that sea­son, it only hap­pened be­cause the five big guns, if you like, didn’t per­form. If you liken that to Scot­tish foot­ball, Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen would all have to com­pletely un­der­per­form for a club like Kilmarnock or Hibs or St John­stone or Mother­well to chal­lenge.

“And the re­al­ity is that Le­ices­ter’s bud­get when they won the Premier League was a lot closer to Manch­ester City’s or Chelsea’s than Kilmarnock’s is to Celtic, Rangers or Aberdeen.”

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