Kilmarnock 0-0 Dundee: Clark heartened by side on dugout debut

By John BarnesBBC Scotland at Rugby Park

New manager Lee Clark was heartened by Kilmarnock's performance in the goalless draw with Dundee.

The Rugby Park boss, who was appointed on Monday, believes the signs are there that his squad can steer themselves away from the relegation play-off spot.

"I've got to be happy with the performance," Clark told BBC Scotland after the draw in Ayrshire.

"On the balance of play we've probably had the better chances and we've played to a high standard."

The former Huddersfield Town boss added: "There was obviously a spell in the second half when Dundee came back into the game.

"We knew they'd have a spell but I think we killed their important players in terms of the space they operate in - Gary Harkins, Kane Hemmings and Greg Stewart.

"It got a little bit nervy towards the end because we didn't want a repeat of Tuesday night when a late goal stopped us getting a positive result [against Rangers in the Scottish Cup].

"But I've got to say the application and the desire of the players is terrific and as long as we've got that we've got a great opportunity to succeed in what we are trying to do."

Cause for 'optimism'

Striker Josh Magennis twice had efforts cleared off the line in the first half, while at the other end Jamie MacDonald kept a clean sheet and denied Paul McGowan and Hemmings with top-class saves.

"Without a shadow of a doubt it gives me optimism because we're on a little bit of a decent run," Clark said.

"That's four good performances on the bounce. I know we lost in the replay to Rangers, but the level of performance has been good, it's been consistent.

"Now I get a free week to work with them, which means I can improve them even more in all aspects - the fitness, the tactical and technical side - so I'm looking forward to the week ahead."

Josh Magennis
Kilmarnock striker Josh Magennis attempts an acrobatic effort

Dundee manager Paul Hartley expected Killie would receive a boost from the appointment of a new boss but was pleased with how his players competed.

"I thought we were good second-half in terms of on the ball, we created much more chances," said Hartley.

"They started the better team, but I felt that we coped with their dangerous play. Scott Bain's made a great save in the first half but he didn't have a lot to do.

"In the second half we had good situations where we could have done better, but overall it's another clean sheet for us, our third on the trot.

"I thought the back four were excellent, the goalkeeper and the two in front, but overall away from home it's another point for us."

The Dens Park men are five games unbeaten and Hartley hopes that stands them in good stead as they prepare to face Dumbarton in their midweek Scottish Cup replay, with the prize for the winner a quarter-final tie against Rangers.

"It's a massive week for us," added Hartley.

"It's big game against Dumbarton as everybody knows the pressure will be on us.

"If we get through that we know what lies ahead for us."

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