Rugby Park squad ordered not to act like Ibrox ‘tourists’ on a jolly
LEE CLARK, the Kilmarnock manager, will tell his players not to act like starstruck tourists at Ibrox on today.
The former Newcastle and Sunderland midfielder was not enamoured to see his players reaching for their mobile phones to take photos at Celtic Park last month before the 6-1 thrashing in the Ladbrokes Premiership. Clark wants his side to adopt a more business-like attitude when they face Rangers as they look to extend their unbeaten run to four games. “I went to watch an Old Firm game there a few years ago and I am looking forward to going there the first time as a manager and hopefully I will come away successful,” he said.
“You have to enjoy it but you only enjoy it if you get a positive result. I felt a little bit like we went to Celtic Park and we were a little bit touristy – the phones out, the cameras out, having a look at the arena rather than getting in there and doing a job. We will be speaking about it, that we are not there to be taking selfies, taking pictures of the stadium and waiting for the opposition to swap shirts etc.
“You can do all that once you have won the game and got a result and we will stressing to the players we are there on business, we are there to get the job done. Enjoy the environment that you are playing in but don’t treat it as a weekend away. It is not, it is a big game.”
Clark is not reading too much into the anxiety which surrounded Ibrox at times on Wednesday as the home side stuttered to a 1-1 draw against St Johnstone at Ibrox, before being booed off. He said: “I know what it takes to play for big football clubs and the expectation that comes with that and you have to be able to handle that.
“It is brilliant to have that type of support to push you on but if you are not delivering what they expect they are not slow to let you know. One of our best performances of the season was when we draw with them here 1-1 and that was a hard game for us. We go there with confidence.”
Clark will monitor his side’s energy levels after Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Hearts at Rugby Park. He said: “Have the players recovered in time to produce another high-level, high-energy performance because that was the key to the result against Hearts? If we have any chance of getting a positive result, we have got to reproduce that, so I have to check the players still have that in the tank.”