'Tough run out': Kilmarnock taking confidence despite early SPFL fixture headache

Two matches into their cinch Premiership renaissance, Kilmarnock have already shown both sides to their game.

Stuffy and disruptive at Ibrox on Saturday, the frustrated groans and complaints of the home fans were as much a signal of their successful gameplan as the relieved roar that met Ash Taylor’s last-minute equaliser against Dundee United on the opening day.

Celtic are up next. Based on the opening three fixtures created by the SPFL computer, Derek McInnes’ side has not had it easy. Yet they can take heart from each game played on their return journey so far.

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"The performances have been good,” said captain Alan Power. “I thought Dundee United was good and Saturday, in a different type of game, was also good. There are a lot of positives to take out of it.

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“There’s been a turnaround of players. We’re working to get to know one another, but with every game we’re progressing, getting fitter and getting better. We are still building but building well.”

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Power is among that turnaround having spent Killie’s second-tier season at St Mirren before returning to the Rugby Park midfield this summer. Derek McInnes suggested more is in the pipeline to bring the Championship winners’ squad up to a Premiership level – but on Ibrox evidence, there is a base to build on.

“We’re not just coming up again to take part in the league and just be happy that we’re here,” Power added. “We’re came here to try and win the game.

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Kilmarnock's Alan Power tackles Rangers Tom Lawrence. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

“We knew what it was going to be like for large parts. We did well without the ball and had a few glimpses ourselves. We started the second half a bit better than we did in the first, making a few more passes.

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“It was a tough run out for the boys. We did well for long periods and 2-0 is a bit harsh.

“The togetherness was good and we limited them to a few chances, had a couple ourselves. We take a lot of positives out of it and we go into the Celtic game confidently.”

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There they will meet another top-level strikeforce having already faced Steven Fletcher, Antonio Colak and Alfredo Morelos in the opening games.

Power added: “I know [Morelos] scored but the boys handled him well. Our centre-halves were brilliant dealing with their threats.”

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