Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes revealed he was was unhappy with Kyle Lafferty’s deadline day exit after he watched his side defeat Dundee United 1-0 to move off the foot of the cinch Premiership.
Danny Armstrong’s sweet first-time strike was the difference, while Kilmarnock goalkeeper Sam Walker saved Steven Fletcher’s penalty as the Rugby Park side secured an important victory to lift them up to ninth in the league.
However, the Killie manager was left to bemoan the timing of Lafferty’s deadline day departure.
“It wasn’t perfect for me,” McInnes said.
“The timing was awful to be honest but it was a decision made above me, between the board and Kyle.
“Unfortunately it left us short on what we were trying to get but we move on. I really enjoyed working with Kyle and we wish him well but unfortunately for us the timing wasn’t great.
“I feel as if he’s somebody I’ll always be there for and I’ll keep the relationship with him, but unfortunately I’m no longer going to be his manager and we move on.”
However, despite the setback of losing Lafferty – and Oli Shaw who signed for Barnsley – McInnes was delighted with the performance from his side against United, as he picked out the contributions of Kyle Vassell and Christian Doidge in particular.
He added: “Tonight the performance was everything I wanted and I thought the performance was great from the players.
“I thought my two strikers were terrific all night, other than scoring a goal which is a huge part of the job. But in terms of leading the line, they were almost faultless from that side of it.
“We just need to make sure that we carry more of a threat. That was a 1-0 game tonight and it should’ve been more for us.”
Dundee United boss Liam Fox, meanwhile, bemoaned a flat performance from his side, although he insists they will not panic despite the defeat sending them bottom.
He said: “I thought we were flat. I’ve not thought that about the group for a long period of time. That is disappointing considering how big a game it is.
“We’ve been bottom before so no-one is going to panic about it. Is that where we want to be? Absolutely not. But I think there will be a lot of to-ing and fro-ing.”
Dundee United also saw a deadline day departure as Tony Watt left to join St Mirren, and Fox admitted they failed in a couple of attempts to bring in players as the window closed.
The United manager also showed his appreciation for sporting director Tony Asghar, who appeared to come under fire from a section of the away support.
Fox added: “Tony (Watt) was probably looking for guaranteed game-time and assurances of that. Tony wanted to play and I’ll never guarantee any player game-time. They have to work and earn it.
“We were trying to do things until late on Tuesday night but it didn’t come off. That is just the way the January window works. There is no frustration because I have faith in the group.
“We need to concentrate on what is happening on the pitch. Tony (Asghar) has been brilliant for me, giving me this opportunity. Everyone has. It just makes us even more determined to pick up points and get out of this situation.”