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Kilmarnock goalkeeper Will Dennis claims he can ‘smell the fear’ of opposition players when they travel to Rugby Park.

The Killie stopper make his cinch Premiership debut last weekend, keeping a clean sheet as his side defeated Rangers 1-0 at Rugby Park.

Rangers manager Michael Beale and captain James Tavernier both cited Kilmarnock’s artificial playing surface as a reason as to why they found the match so difficult.

However, the Bournemouth-loanee believes ‘mentality’ to be a greater barrier to success at Rugby Park than astroturf.

He said: “It is a tough place to come but you’ve got to deal with it. We go away to other grounds and it’s grass and we train every day here on astroturf.

“It’s a mentality thing and if you turn up with the wrong mentality then teams will sniff it out and will smell the fear.

“The same goes the other way with away games on grass, but you can’t go into games with fear; thinking of the pitch, the fans, you have to just go in with a bit of excitement and determination.”

Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes added: “There’s nothing we can do, we can’t stop people giving their opinion. I think we’re all used to that as a club.

“Nobody really mentions it when we get beat, they only seem to mention it when we win.”

Killie travel to Tynecastle this weekend to face Hearts with the hope of making it two wins from two to start off their cinch Premiership campaign.

The manager has challenged his team to improve their away form this term, having won just two league matches away from home during the 2022/23 season.

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