Johnston hails Boyd’s ambitions to join big club

Kilmarnock manager Allan Johnston has welcomed the ambition of Kris Boyd to test himself at a higher level.

Craig Slater: SPFL award. Picture: SNS

The 30-year-old this week revealed he was ready to move to a big club in the summer if the opportunity arose.

The former Rangers and Middlesbrough striker, who has scored nine goals in his past ten games, was linked with moves to Nottingham Forest and Blackpool last month, while Coventry are reported to be considering a summer move. Johnston said: “I’m sure there will be loads of clubs looking at Kris Boyd, the way he has played this season. He has been fantastic for us.

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“And he has still got the ambition to play at the highest level. You want that. If players play with hunger, they play better.

“So I’m not disappointed that teams are showing an interest, it just shows how well he has been doing. We want to keep our best players. We have already said to Boydy that we want to keep him next year, but time will tell.

“I think it would take a really, really good offer to a big club for him to move because he is happy here. He’s a real leader on the park and a big influence in the dressing room as well. I think he is actually getting better as he is getting older, with his movement. And he is still hungry to score goals. He has definitely matured as a player as well.”

Kilmarnock take on Dundee United tomorrow and playmaker Alexei Eremenko could be unleashed behind Boyd after playing 22 minutes against Ross County on 1 February following his return to the club.

“He’s worked hard over the last ten days or so and you can see he’s a real talented player,” Johnston said. “It will just be a decision over whether we are going to start him or bring him on from the bench.”

Kilmarnock’s 19-year-old central midfielder Craig Slater has been picked as the SPFL Young Player of the Month for January.

Slater said: “I had been hoping to get myself established in the Kilmarnock first team this season and, hopefully, I have done that now. This is my most consistent run of games and it is nice that people have been complimentary about me.

“I know that I will have to work hard and keep my level of performances high. Getting this award is terrific and, hopefully, my good form will continue. The manager Allan Johnston has been great with me.”

“He has told me to be confident and play my own game. Afterwards he will give me a few pointers as well. Other players have been good and they have kept me working hard and keeping my feet on the ground.

“Keeping my place ahead of some experienced players has been terrific for me and hopefully I can continue to do that. A few of the younger boys have been given a chance by the manager and that is very encouraging for all the young players at the club.”