Kris Boyd can lead Kilmarnock to safety, says Lee Clark

By John BarnesBBC Scotland
Kilmarnock striker Kris Boyd
Boyd has scored six goals for Kilmarnock this season

Manager Lee Clark sees Kris Boyd as the catalyst for Kilmarnock's quest to secure their Premiership status.

The striker has started the last four matches, scoring three goals, as Killie boosted their chances of avoiding the play-off with two wins and a draw.

"Kris has been fantastic since he came into the starting line-up," Clark told BBC Scotland.

"Kris needs to be the man who starts, he needs to be the main man that the team is built around."

Two years ago Boyd scored the solitary goal that beat Hibernian on the final day of the season to retain Killie's top flight status and he looks like the go-to man again.

Boyd, 32, captained the side in the 4-0 win at Hamilton last weekend due to the absence of goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald and he is likely to do it again against Partick Thistle.

"He's been tremendous on the training ground, he's been a great example and been a real advocate of what I'm trying to do and he's pushed that forward and thankfully for any goalscorer he's getting his rewards with goals," said Clark.

With Dundee United relegated, Kilmarnock are in the play-off position with three games remaining, four points behind Hamilton and six adrift of Partick.

The Rugby Park boss has in the past battled relegation while in charge of Blackpool and Birmingham and he hopes that experience can help.

Kilmarnock manager Lee Clark
Clark has three games to try and catch the teams above Kilmarnock

"The main thing for me that I can pass to the players because I've got personal experience of it, is never give up," he explained.

"We went to the 96th minute with Birmingham City against Bolton Wanderers to secure our Championship status.

"So that just shows you never ever give up no matter what the situation - keep fighting right to the end - and that's obviously one thing we'll do in the last three games.

"We've got three huge games and with each game that goes by if we keep getting positive results it gives us a better opportunity.

"The next one is obviously Partick Thistle and if we get a win, we can drag them into the equation alongside ourselves and Hamilton.

"Like I've said all along the only time we can effect a team around us is when we play them, so obviously the result against Hamilton and what we do against Partick will be important for us."

Thistle are one of the sides Killie has played against since Clark took over the reigns so that gives him the benefit of having seen them first hand as opposition.

"It give me personal knowledge but my staff have been brilliant for me in terms of helping me and that was crucial in terms of why I wanted to keep them when I came into the job - their knowledge of the game up here.

"But I've seen Thistle and I've also watched their game from the weekend against Inverness. They'll be hurting because they weren't expecting to be in this position."

Top Stories

Around Scottish sport