Interim Kilmarnock boss Lee McCulloch ready for Ibrox return

Kilmarnock interim manager Lee McCulloch speaks to the media ahead of his side's upcoming clash with Rangers. Picture: SNS
Kilmarnock interim manager Lee McCulloch speaks to the media ahead of his side's upcoming clash with Rangers. Picture: SNS
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Lee McCulloch admits it will be “surreal” taking a team to Ibrox after being placed in caretaker charge for Kilmarnock’s William Hill Scottish Cup tie.

But the former Rangers captain has been too busy trying to restore his players’ shattered confidence to reflect too much on his own situation.

McCulloch is taking his role “day by day” and the club refused to discuss their plans to appoint a permanent successor to Gary Locke, whose resignation was announced on Saturday night.

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Billy Davies and Ally McCoist, two managers who McCulloch has played under, have been linked with the job but the former Motherwell player looks certain to be in charge against Rangers on Saturday.

“Who would have thought that?” he said. “It’s pretty surreal, isn’t it?

“I’m looking forward to going back to be honest. I had eight great years there, no regrets. If you’re not wanting to go and play in this game then you shouldn’t be in football.

“I’m looking forward to it and I know the dressing room, hopefully, will get their confidence back and be looking forward to it.”

But McCulloch admits that has not been an easy task. Locke’s departure came hours after a 1-0 home defeat by Hamilton, which left them second-bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership and followed their 5-1 defeat at basement club Dundee United.

“It’s been hard,” McCulloch said. “Last week was the lowest I’ve ever seen the club... the players.

“The dressing room was really low so this week has been all about trying to get the confidence back and get a bit of enjoyment back into training.

“It was a sad place all round on the Monday but it’s up to the player himself to find that inner belief to get his confidence back and want to go the extra yard in training to do that. There’s no better game to go into than Saturday’s.

“It is difficult circumstances. I spoke to Gary on Saturday night and obviously he was a little bit down, but he just said ‘get on with it’. He is going to move on as well.

“It’s just about getting on with training, going into Saturday and we will see what happens next week.”

The player-coach added: “Everybody has got to take responsibility, not just Gary resigning.

“Everybody at the club has got to take responsibility and that’s what we have spoken about this week, taking responsibility and trying to get a winning formula back.”

Rangers are a much-changed team from the one McCulloch left following their play-off defeat by Motherwell last May, with Mark Warburton introducing guile and confidence since his appointment as manager.

“They are on a roll just now, they are passing the ball really well, they are organised, they have a great manager, a great tactician,” McCulloch said. “He knows the game inside out.

“So it’s going to be tough but we need to go there and believe. And hopefully we can just put on a better show.”


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