13 May Killie comes first
Lee McCulloch has urged Kilmarnock to bat off the threat of relegation this weekend and allow him to finally thrash out his future with the Rugby Park board.
The caretaker boss has been in charge since Lee Clark quit back in February but has refused to enter into talks with the Killie directors about taking the job full-time while the threat of demotion hung over the club.
However, the Ayrshire outfit are now on the verge of safety and require just a point at home to bottom-placed Inverness on Saturday to stave off the drop for another year.
Now McCulloch wants to complete the job so he can get down to business with the board.
“I think that’s the way to go,” he said. “To be fair to the board, they have been good and respected my wishes.
“What I’ve said from the start is that I think it’s best for everybody that we don’t get sidetracked, we don’t lose focus. Let’s get safe and then sit down.
“If it’s meant to be, it is. If it isn’t, it isn’t. That’s the way I’m looking at it.
“I said in my speech at the club’s AGM this week that the club and the fans are more important than my situation. That’s why I didn’t want to get distracted with off-field stuff.
“With the way the club has been over the last seven or eight seasons, the next appointment has to be right. But for it to be right, the person taking the job has to have expectations and have them matched [by the board], so that’s where the discussion comes in.
“Really I’ve not had anything to say about my position for the last three months, it’s just been about trying to pick up as many points as we can and get better every day in training.”
McCulloch’s side have already blown one shot at securing their top-flight slot after losing at home to Dundee last weekend.
But lessons have been learned from that setback, according to the interim boss, who will welcome goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald back into his line-up for the Caley Thistle clash after Newcastle loanee Freddie Woodman was called up to England’s Under-20s World Cup squad.
McCulloch said: “A win makes us safe so that’s the big carrot for us this weekend. It was the same last weekend but we didn’t turn up against Dundee.
“So we can’t forget how off it we were last weekend. It was the worst we’ve played since Peter Leven and I have been in charge.
“This week it’s all about learning from our mistakes.
“We don’t want the relegation threat lingering over us. Just look at Hibs three years back – they are the perfect example of what can happen. They thought they were safe, didn’t win a game after the split, got dragged in and ended up being relegated.
“So we have spoken about complacency to the players and what happened last week. Hopefully it’s not the same this week.”