McCulloch improving killie

Kilmarnock interim manager Lee McCulloch admits he has focused on the “art” of defending and attacking set-pieces after Saturday’s defeat by Motherwell.

For the second home game running, Killie lost a lead after failing to defend two balls into the box. Both Carl McHugh and Zak Jules netted following set-pieces as Motherwell won 2-1 at Rugby Park, and they were not isolated occurrences.

Analysis this week suggests that Killie have conceded the most goals from set-pieces in the Ladbrokes Premiership (18) and scored the fewest (six) this season.

McCulloch said: “We spoke about how important set-plays are in the modern game, especially going up to play Ross County, who are probably one of the better teams in the league at set-plays.

“They are massive in modern-day football, in any league. It’s an art, corner-taking and having the aggression in both boxes.

“It’s something that cost us three points against Motherwell, and individual errors cost us three points against Aberdeen.

“We went to McDiarmid Park and played the same way we have been in the last three games, there were no individual errors and we came away with a good result.

“That’s why we are where we are in the league (eighth). We need to cut out the individual errors if we want to climb up the league and keep moving the ball and pressing the way we have been.”

McCulloch, who said there was “absolutely no news” on the managerial situation, will again be without captain Steven Smith in Dingwall.

But there was better news on the injury front on Tuesday when Greg Kiltie made a half-hour appearance for the under-20s following five months out with a hamstring problem.

“It was brilliant to see him coming back in,” McCulloch said. “He looked sharp but obviously having been out for so long it’s not fair to put a time frame on it. He is back and he is progressing and he is in good hands with the medical staff.”

Kilmarnock interim manager Lee McCulloch admits he has focused on the “art” of defending and attacking set-pieces after Saturday’s defeat by Motherwell.

For the second home game running, Killie lost a lead after failing to defend two balls into the box. Both Carl McHugh and Zak Jules netted following set-pieces as Motherwell won 2-1 at Rugby Park, and they were not isolated occurrences.

Analysis this week suggests that Killie have conceded the most goals from set-pieces in the Ladbrokes Premiership (18) and scored the fewest (six) this season.

McCulloch said: “We spoke about how important set-plays are in the modern game, especially going up to play Ross County, who are probably one of the better teams in the league at set-plays.

“They are massive in modern-day football, in any league. It’s an art, corner-taking and having the aggression in both boxes.

“It’s something that cost us three points against Motherwell, and individual errors cost us three points against Aberdeen.

“We went to McDiarmid Park and played the same way we have been in the last three games, there were no individual errors and we came away with a good result.

“That’s why we are where we are in the league (eighth). We need to cut out the individual errors if we want to climb up the league and keep moving the ball and pressing the way we have been.”

McCulloch, who said there was “absolutely no news” on the managerial situation, will again be without captain Steven Smith in Dingwall.

But there was better news on the injury front on Tuesday when Greg Kiltie made a half-hour appearance for the under-20s following five months out with a hamstring problem.

“It was brilliant to see him coming back in,” McCulloch said. “He looked sharp but obviously having been out for so long it’s not fair to put a time frame on it. He is back and he is progressing and he is in good hands with the medical staff.”