KRIS Boyd has vowed to kick-start his career with Kilmarnock after hitting back at Dave King and his Rangers critics.
The Scottish Premiership’s record scorer was one of 11 players released by Rangers after the club’s failure to win promotion to the Ladbrokes Premiership. Ibrox chairman King said the club’s players had “failed miserably” last term.
But Boyd, who netted just three leagues goals after returning to the Light Blues last summer, insists he and skipper Lee McCulloch were each unfairly singled out.
The 31-year-old, who has signed a two-year deal after signing for Killie for the third time, told STV: “It’s pretty easy when the fans are jumping on the bandwagon and I think Dave King [has been critical], when the fans are wanting someone to say that, to go and sell season tickets.
“What I will say is that we didn’t play with two men last year. Towards the end of the season, I think me and Lee McCulloch have taken a lot of stick but we were part of a 30-man squad. For me it is pretty easy to jump on the bandwagon and blame others. I found it very surprising how Dave King came out and had a go at players on a Friday or Saturday and all of a sudden he doesn’t have a manager. Then you hold another press conference on the Monday.
“Go and get your manager in and let him deal with your players rather than you. You concentrate on your job. For me it’s finished now. I wish Dave King, Rangers, Mark Warburton and Davie Weir all the best. Hopefully, they can get themselves back up to the Premiership because I think the whole of Scottish football needs it.
“The fans definitely deserve it. I thought it [the criticism] was unfair to single out two players.
“I won’t be the first, I won’t be the last at Rangers or Celtic but it’s finished and I look forward to this season and, hopefully, I can hit the ground running.”
Boyd made himself an Ibrox favourite as he notched up 126 goals during his first stint at Ibrox.
But his return to Rangers ended in misery as his side were thumped 6-1 in the play-off final by Motherwell.
He scored 10 goals in 43 games but only three of those were netted on Championship duty.
Asked why his move back to Govan had fallen flat, Boyd said: “It’s difficult when you go back somewhere after the amount of success I had.
“No disrespect to the players I played with last year but when you go from playing with World Cup players and top players, you look at Steven Davis and people like that. Barry Ferguson, Pedro Mendes, they were creating chances, five or six chances per game and it wasn’t there last year.
“I missed a few chances, but last year as a squad we struggled. I think there was a lot of pressure on the strikers or got a lot of criticism. If it was one or two who weren’t doing it but there were four or five .
“I’m not going to stand here and be overly critical. I’ll be the first to look in the mirror and say I could have done a lot more. I’ve had success at Rangers in the past and it didn’t happen last year.
“I was delighted I was given the opportunity to go back but I’m delighted I’m back here and, hopefully, I’ll get back to scoring goals.
“It’s easy to criticise but I’ll be the first to criticise myself. I know I didn’t do it, I didn’t perform to the levels I’ve shown before and the season before at Kilmarnock. This year it is a matter of proving to myself that I can still do it.”
Kilmarnock also confirmed yesterday that Peter Leven had joined Locke’s backroom staff as assistant coach.
Leven, who played his youth football at Rangers, joined Kilmarnock as a player in 2004, staying at the club until 2007.
After a short spell at Chesterfield, he joined MK Dons in 2008 and won the League 1 Sports Writers Player of the Year in 2010-11, his last season at the club. Leven went on to sign and play for Oxford United from 2011 to 2013. Having retired from football due to long-term injury Leven went on to achieve his coaching badges.
Locke said: “I am glad to have been able to bring Peter in as a member of my backroom team.
“He has spent the last eight years down in England gathering knowledge of the English game – that will be a big benefit to us as a club going forward.
“I have known Peter for a long time and I am confident he will be a great addition to the team.”