Gary Locke quits as Kilmarnock manager

Former  Kilmarnock manager Gary Locke. Picture: SNS
Former Kilmarnock manager Gary Locke. Picture: SNS
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Gary Locke has resigned as Kilmarnock manager, the Rugby Park club have announced.

Locke reached his decision after the 1-0 home Ladbrokes Premiership defeat by Hamilton on Saturday which kept the the Ayrshire club in the relegation play-off position.

He will be replaced by Lee McCulloch on an interim basis pending a permanent appointment.

A club statement confirming Locke’s departure said: “McCulloch will be assisted by Peter Leven and under-20 head coach Alan Robertson.

“The board of directors would like to thank Gary for his time with the club and wish him every success in the future.

“Lee McCulloch is the holder of a UEFA Pro Licence and has been acting as a first-team coach this season, although he remains registered as a player.”

McCulloch’s first game in charge of Kilmarnock will be in the William Hill Scottish Cup tie against his former club Rangers at Ibrox next Saturday.

Locke, who replaced Allan Johnston in February 2015, came under pressure following poor results, with last week’s 5-1 defeat to bottom side Dundee United at Tannadice particularly damaging.

The former Hearts coach was heavily criticised by some fans during the defeat by Hamilton at Rugby Park.

The result left the home side 11 points ahead of United although the Tannadice side have two games in hand after their match against Partick Thistle was postponed on Saturday.

Asked afterwards about the criticism he had to endure against Accies, former Kilmarnock defender Locke said: “You are going to get criticism when you are in the position in the league that we are.

“I am not going to shirk away from that, that’s football. Every manager gets stick when the team is not doing well.

“I would rather I get it than the players as there are one or two lacking confidence at the minute and it is difficult to play well when they are playing with such a lack of confidence.

“The only way you can get through that is by digging in and working hard and that is what we have to do.”