Eremenko: Kilmarnock return means more Boyd goals

Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston with new signing Alexei Eremenko. Picture: SNS
Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston with new signing Alexei Eremenko. Picture: SNS
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Alexei Eremenko believes his Kilmarnock return will mean more goals for Kris Boyd.

The Rugby Park outfit announced the re-signing of the Finnish playmaker Eremenko until the end of the season on Tuesday afternoon and he goes straight into boss Allan Johnston’s squad for Wednesday night’s clash with Celtic at Parkhead.

Alexei Eremenko in action for Kilmarnock in 2010. Picture: SNS

Alexei Eremenko in action for Kilmarnock in 2010. Picture: SNS

The 30-year-old spent a year with the Rugby Park side after arriving in the summer of 2010 and made such an impact that he was nominated for the Professional Footballers Association Scotland player of the year award.

But he believes it will be 13-goal Scotland striker Boyd who will benefit most from his second spell with Killie.

Eremenko was at Rugby Park on Saturday to see his new team-mates beat Inverness 2-0, with Boyd grabbing the all important second, and was impressed with what he saw.

He said: “I don’t think I played against Kris when he was at Rangers the last time I was here, but I watched Saturday’s game with Inverness and I think I can make him score even more goals.”

The 59-time-capped Finn rejoins the side following spells with Russian’s Rubin Kazan and more recently FC Kairat Almaty of Kazakhstan.

But he has not played since the end of the Kazakh season in November, while he spent seven months on the sidelines with a knee injury during his stay in Russia.

It will take time to find full fitness but Eremenko cannot wait to get started.

“I need to work hard to get my fitness back and hopefully I should be back fit for the Dundee United game in two-and-a-half weeks,” he said.

“But It feels great to be back at Kilmarnock. When I left the club, I told the club secretary Kirsten Callaghan that I would be back one day but I didn’t expect to be back so soon.

“I was gone for three years but my memories of playing here were always with me. The first time I was here was one of the best spells in my career and that was one of the main reasons why I wanted to come back.”

Boyd has reportedly attracted interest from Sky Bet Championship side Blackpool, who now have his former Ibrox team-mate Barry Ferguson in charge.

But chairman Michael Johnston insists he wants to see the frontman and Eremenko link up for Killie.

He said: “A bid for Kris is not something that we would welcome. Indeed we would hope Kris would be here for the long term. He is only signed until the end of this season but it our wish he would stay on beyond that.

“We are looking forward to seeing him play in conjunction with Alexei, it should be an interesting pairing and hopefully will be very fruitful.

“It’s not part of our planning that Kris will be leaving. He is very settled with the club. There is no suggestion from him that he wants to leave and there is certainly no desire on the part of the club to allow him to go, so the dream team of Alexei and Kris is what we are looking forward to seeing on the pitch.”

Manager Johnston was unsure whether Eremenko will have the power in his legs to feature against Neil Lennon’s runaway Scottish Premiership leaders in Glasgow but hopes to have him available as soon as possible.

“He will give us another dimension going forward,” said the manager. “It might take him a while to get fit because he has not played since the start of November. But as long as we get him up to match speed his quality should start to count.”