Why Kilmarnock must rue inability to see games out as Tommy Wright set to open Dundee scouting reports

For the second time since 2016, Kilmarnock face a tense two-legged tie to maintain their Scottish Premiership status despite a 2-0 win over Hamilton on the final day of the season.

Kilmarnock boss Tommy Wright. Picture: SNS

It has been a steep fall for the club across the past 24 months.

On Wednesday it will be two years to the day Killie defeated Rangers on the final day of the season to secure third spot under Steve Clarke.

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He left for the Scotland national team and the feel-good factor departed with him. The Killie board tried Angelo Alessio, a man with no previous Scottish football experience, before rotating 180 to the tried and trusted with Clarke's right-hand man Alex Dyer.

Neither worked.

Tommy Wright was appointed in February with the club tenth, a position above Ross County, and the expectation was he would use his managerial nous to steer the club up the table. But the magnitude of the job has been bigger than perhaps many expected.

Despite an improved run of results, with just one loss in nine games to finish the season, what done for Killie was an inability to see through games having taken the lead, especially in games against Ross County.

Across the season, the Rugby Park men gave up 20 points from winning positions, seven of those were in three games against the Staggies.

The Northern Irishman admitted he would have liked to have had more time with the team to save them from the play-off spot but now it is all he is focused on, encouraged by the number of goals his team have in them.

Mitch Pinnock’s double took them to 24 goals in nine games.

"It’s disappointing but we knew the situation before we went into the game," Wright said. “They were a bit disappointed in the dressing room but, five or ten minutes afterwards, the focus moved to the job they have to do against Dundee.

“I’m pleased we’re going into the games in form. And we look as if we’re a real goal threat so, over two legs, we’ll have confidence based on performances we’ve had recently.”

While the Killie players didn't want to know what was unfolding at Fir Park, instead focusing on their own job, Wright kept up with the Ross County result on his phone, not relying on anyone else to do that job.

He now has three full days to prepare his side for the enticing play-off first-leg at Dens Park on Thursday evening which means utilising the scouting report he didn’t want to use.

"I watched Dundee last night," he said. “We’ve watched them twice, actually – watched them against Dunfermline earlier in the season – and I’ve had scouting reports on them. Everything is sitting ready to go.

“It’s one of those files on your computer that you didn’t want to open tomorrow morning. But we’ll get into it tomorrow and prepare right.

“They’ve got quality, good experience, a bit of pace, some good young players. And Charlie Adam is probably still one of the best passers and crossers of the ball in Scotland. So we know the difficulty of the task ahead of us.

"But I’m sure they’ll be looking at us and thinking we’re a decent side. It’s all set up for a big finale.”

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