Lee Ashcroft aims to grab Kilmarnock chance

Lee Ashcroft is determined to nail down a place in manager Allan Johnston’s plans by helping to transform Kilmarnock’s fortunes this season.

Lee Ashcroft, the Kilmarnock defender, previews Saturday's match against Partick Thistle at Rugby Park. Picture: SNS
Lee Ashcroft, the Kilmarnock defender, previews Saturday's match against Partick Thistle at Rugby Park. Picture: SNS

The defender has started the last two games, which saw the Ayrshire side claim a much-needed win against Ross County before slumping to a 4-1 defeat to Dundee United.

Despite mixed results in those outings, Ashcroft is eager to make the most of his chance in the side after making just three appearances so far this season.

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He said: “I’ve been working hard and playing with the 20s and I’m happy to finally get my chance. The manager has given me a chance and I’ve just got to take it with both hands.

“We are still disappointed after last week, but we have four big games coming up over the next few weeks.

“They are four teams who are round about us so we are trying to prepare for those games and move on from the disappointing result at the weekend.”

Next up is the visit of Partick Thistle, who sit two points and one place ahead of Killie in the Scottish Premiership.

Ashcroft said: “They are a couple of points ahead of us so it’s a big game and we know it’s going to be a fight. We need to make sure we are up for it and I think most of the boys are after the weekend. We are ready to go again.”

Thistle initially made an impressive return to the top flight with a string of positive results in the early part of the season.

Recent matches have seen them struggle to put together a consistent run, resulting in them slipping down to ninth spot.

But, as they prepare to travel to Rugby Park today, Conrad Balatoni claims confidence is still high in the Firhill camp.

The defender said: “Belief is a major factor. Belief brings you confidence and confidence can make you play better and makes you do things that you might not try when you’re not confident.

“All the players have belief. We are a young side and we don’t fear anyone. We go into every game thinking that we are going to win and hopefully we will win on Saturday.”

Balatoni believes the festive period could be the turning point for Thistle.

He added: “We are down in the bottom half of the table just now and we want to get as many points as we can so we can pull away from that position.

“Hopefully we can kick on and get another few good results over the Christmas period and start moving up the table.”