WHILE Kilmarnock still retain the ability to determine where they will play their football next season manager Gary Locke will remain relaxed.
After a seven-match unbeaten run Killie lost to two of the teams below them, Ross County and Motherwell, as the race to beat the drop from the Scottish Premiership heats up.
The eighth-placed Ayrshire club are seven points ahead of second-bottom Well with a game in hand ahead of Saturday’s fixtures.
And it is that cushion which is encouraging for Locke, although a home game against Aberdeen on Sunday before a trip to Celtic next midweek could hardly be a more difficult pre-split brace of games.
“I wouldn’t say I was worried,” he said. “Obviously you look at the league table and it is tight.
“I am pretty sure I am the same as the players. We are well aware of the situation but we are still in a reasonably good position at the moment.
“We are still a few points clear and if we win a few games we can take ourselves out of that equation.
“I would be more worried if we had to rely on other people.
“But it is very much in our own hands and we have to make sure that we win a few games in the next two or three weeks and if we do that we will be okay.
“We are obviously not happy with the last two results.
“I was pleased with the first half against Motherwell, not so pleased with the second.
“It is important now that we maintain that first-half standard for 90 minutes and try to get a few wins on the board as quickly as possible.
“We have a big period coming up and with the way Ross County and Motherwell are doing we have to make sure that we win a few games so we don’t get dragged into it.”
The standard of pitches in Scotland is back on the agenda after Celtic manager Ronny Deila criticised the grass surface at St Mirren Park following last week’s 2-0 win over the Buddies.
The Norwegian held up Rugby Park as an example of how good artificial pitches can be and Locke is inclined to agree.
He said: “From our point of view it is great for us. We can do a lot of quality work In training, we can do a lot of good stuff with the community.
“We are very big on bringing the local community closer to the club and it is fantastic to see the amount of kids you see out there every night.
“And when you see the state of some of the pitches in the Premiership and all the other leagues in Scotland, they are not really conducive to getting the ball down and passing it and that is the type of football the fans like to come and see.
“For me, I am not saying everyone should have the same pitch as us because a lot of players prefer to play on grass but when you have pitches in the states they are in, I would far prefer to play on our pitch.
“I think the older players prefer to play on the grass but the younger players are used to playing on the surface we have got.
“Maybe six or seven years from now you will probably find, just due to finances, that a lot of clubs will go down the same route as us.”
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS