Scottish Premiership - Pascali gets to root of the problem

Skipper Manuel Pascali insists there is a simple reason why Kilmarnock won two successive Scottish Premiership games after a poor start to the season - they stopped losing "stupid goals".

PA Sport
Scottish Premiership - Pascali gets to root of the problem
.

View photo

Kilmarnock's defending has improved, according to Manuel Pascali

The Rugby Park club failed to win a league game this season until they beat Ross County 2-0 at home before winning by the same scoreline against Hearts last week.

And ahead of trip to Inverness on Saturday, the 32-year-old Italian was asked what the difference had been in the last two games.

"Basically not conceding stupid goals," he said.

"It was the third time in the season we finished with a clean sheet in the league, the first time was against St Johnstone when we drew 0-0.

"We defended well, and performed okay. Everyone is coming back to fitness and it looks like we are ready to perform in every single match.

"It is completely different during the week when you have had positive results but we still have a lot to do.

"We are on a run now but we have a very tough games ahead.

"We have Inverness away and St Johnstone away next week and they are two of the two toughest grounds to play at.

"And if we lose in Inverness, then we haven't done anything.

"But I think the game is coming at the right time because we have won two games in a row and we have the confidence back."

Pascali joined the growing list of Killie players who believe striker Kris Boyd, whose brace against Hearts last week took his tally for the season to six, is showing the form that could see him return to the Scotland set-up.

"He is like a goal scoring machine," he said. "He is playing fantastically well.

"He has got a tremendous attitude. He is a very good character and it is amazing having him in the dressing room.

"People in the past maybe labelled him as a lazy player but he is not like that.

"You can see him every day in training and last week when we were 2-0 up he made a recovery tackle in our half.

"He hadn't done that before so that shows you how much he wants to do well for the team.

"We know that if you give him half a chance he will score.

"He scored two on Saturday, he has six now and if he keeps doing that he will be back in the Scottish team."

Rabiu Ibrahim remains sidelined for Kilmarnock having collapsed during the win over Ross County a fortnight ago.

The midfielder spent two nights in hospital undergoing tests, however manager Allan Johnston is not expecting those test results to come back until next week.

Inverness boss Terry Butcher has an unchanged squad.

Butcher claims his players are looking "bright" and "fresh" after Tuesday's League Cup quarter-final against Dundee United, which Inverness won after extra-time.

And he is confident his players will be ready for Kilmarnock.

"Winning makes tiredness go away a lot quicker," he said. "They have been recuperating very well.

"I look back to when we played Dundee in the last round and had a long journey after a hard-fought match and had to play Hibs on the Saturday.

"Hibs didn't have a game that week and we ended up beating them, so we have history of doing well after cup victories.

"But Kilmarnock are doing well and Kris Boyd is doing very well, so it will be a different Kilmarnock side to the one we played at Rugby Park earlier in the season."

View Comments