Kilmarnock’s Ross Barbour on a maturing 2014

KILMARNOCK right-back Ross Barbour believes he has matured on and off the pitch after being given the shock news of impending fatherhood.

The Killie right-back (left) battles with Hamilton's Stephen Hendrie. Picture: SNS
The Killie right-back (left) battles with Hamilton's Stephen Hendrie. Picture: SNS

The 21-year-old did not play a first-team game last season until late March, after he learned he and his girlfriend were expecting a baby, although he began the campaign injured.

Barbour went on to play the final seven games of the season to help keep Killie in the Scottish Premiership, earning himself a new two-year contract in the process, and he has played in all seven of their league games this term.

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And he admits the need to provide for his daughter has given new meaning to playing football.

“I’ve got a baby on the way on November 8 so I’m looking forward to it,” Barbour said ahead of the League Cup third-round meeting with St Johnstone at Rugby Park.

“My life has changed a lot already. The last five months I have hardly ever been out. I have just been sitting in with Kayleigh, so it has probably helped my football because it’s been a quiet life.

“We weren’t planning it so it was a shock but there’s not much you can do, you just need to look forward to it.

“I’ve had a few eye-openers from a few boys who have already had kids, and a few pointers along the way.

“This becomes more of a job now than a hobby, because I will need to provide for my wee girl.”

But Barbour knows that keeping his place in the team will not be easy following the signing of former Sheffield United right-back Darryl Westlake.

“It’s been good playing every game this year but there is competition there so I know I always have to be on my toes. Darryl Westlake has come in, Mark O’Hara can play right-back and so can Jamie Hamill. So I know if I don’t play well then I know I will be out of the team.”

Barbour did his cause no harm on Saturday as Killie held Hamilton to a goalless draw - their third clean sheet of the season.

“We never played really well against Hamilton, especially the first half, and they had quite a lot of possession, but they never really had any chances, which is credit to the boys,” he said.

“We worked well together and I think we have worked well quite a lot of the season stopping teams getting chances.

“I think that’s probably one of the main differences from last season, we are a lot tighter at the back.”