Lee McCulloch expects Collins quip to fire up squad

Kilmarnock player/coach Lee McCulloch talks to the press ahead of his side's forthcoming Ladbrokes Premiership fixture against Celtic. Picture: SNS
Kilmarnock player/coach Lee McCulloch talks to the press ahead of his side's forthcoming Ladbrokes Premiership fixture against Celtic. Picture: SNS
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KILMARNOCK player-coach Lee McCulloch expects John Collins’ critique of Celtic’s Ladbrokes Premiership opponents to fire up some players - but he will not be using them as a motivational tool.

Collins upset several managers by claiming domestic players were not quick or clever enough to punish slack play from his side compared with European teams.

At [Rangers] if I had come out and said a point would be really good, I probably wouldn’t have been seen again

Lee McCulloch

The comments could come back to haunt Collins if bottom club Kilmarnock pull off a shock at Rugby Park on Wednesday night, but McCulloch was unruffled by the former Monaco midfielder’s observations.

McCulloch said: “If the players have got anything about them, they will read it themselves and think, ‘well...’. That’s the players at every club in the league.

“You can use it any way you want to but I don’t see any problem at all.

“I just think he’s entitled to his opinion. There has obviously been a massive backlash to what he has said. If he did say it he probably didn’t mean it the way he said it, having known John Collins throughout my career.

“He has maybe just been a bit naive in the way things have come out, but I don’t see the problem at all.”

McCulloch, who is nursing an ankle knock and will not feature, admits he is going into the meeting with Celtic with a different mindset than he did while a Rangers player.

With Killie bottom of the table having conceded six goals without reply, the 37-year-old said: “A point would obviously be our first point so that means it would be a good point.

“But it’s a great experience for the young boys playing against the calibre of player Celtic have got just now.

“Things have changed, at my last club if I had come out and said a point would be really good, I probably wouldn’t have been seen again.

“Any positive result would be brilliant for us.”

Killie play at Rugby Park for the first time since their 4-0 loss to Dundee but midfielder Jamie Hamill knows nothing could atone for that shock start to the campaign.

“I don’t think the Dundee game is going to be forgiven because it was such a bad day at the office,” Hamill said. “It just wasn’t good enough.

“But we can hopefully put that to bed and move on. There is no point looking back on negative results.

“Even if we had won our first two I don’t think we would be looking back on them. We just have to take a step forward.”

Meanwhile, Kilmarnock have signed 20-year-old Swansea goalkeeper Oliver Davies on loan until January following last week’s departure of Craig Samson.