Kilmarnock’s Kris Boyd: It’s a big ask to repeat Golden Boot feat

Boyd says Kilmarnock should just enjoy having manager Steve Clarke while he's still at the club. Picture: SNS.
Boyd says Kilmarnock should just enjoy having manager Steve Clarke while he's still at the club. Picture: SNS.
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You can avail yourself of odds as generous as 10-1 if you fancy Kris Boyd to defy both the odds and Father Time once again to finish as top scorer in the Scottish Premiership in the forthcoming campaign.

According to the master marksman himself, who will celebrate his 35th birthday later this month, it would 
represent a risky investment.

Boyd’s 18-goal top-flight tally for a resurgent Kilmarnock led the standings last season but he believes a repeat is unlikely, given the greater ratio of chances which should be afforded to rival strikers such as Odsonne Edouard at Celtic or Alfredo Morelos at Rangers.

“If you look back at me being top 
scorer last season, it was probably a bit unexpected,” reflects Boyd, who has already scored four times for Kilmarnock in the group stage of the Betfred Cup this season.

“If you are looking at who will be top scorer this time, you have to look at a Celtic or Rangers player – especially Celtic, with the amount of opportunities they create.

“On a personal note, last season just showed me that the goalposts don’t move. If you put yourself in the right position and you’ve got a good team around you, then you can score goals.

“As I said, though, it was a surprise for me to get the most when you see the amount of chances that Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs create.

“I’ve never been one for setting any goal tally targets because I think you can only disappoint yourself. I’ve always been someone that goes into every game looking to score. I know that’s not possible, but I’m not going to change now.

“I’ve been like that since I was a young boy. If I get myself into positions, I know my team-mates can find me and it’s up to me to finish. Whether that gets you five, ten, 15, 20 or 30 goals I don’t know, but if I sit here and say that I am going to score 20 goals, then I can only disappoint or feel the relief towards the end of the season.

“It was great to be up there personally, but more so it was good for the team last year. We got into that top six, which has been a long time coming for Kilmarnock. There’s a feelgood factor about the place, so hopefully that can continue this season.”

Those positive vibes surrounding Rugby Park, which will host a Premiership opener against St Johnstone on Saturday, were created by the remarkable impact of Steve Clarke at the club which earned 
him Scotland’s Manager of the Year award.

Clarke’s decision to accept a new and improved contract at Kilmarnock has fuelled hopes the momentum he created can be maintained, although Boyd remains realistic about the prospect of a long-term tenure at the club for the former Chelsea and 
Liverpool coach.

“It was a big boost, not only for the players, but for the whole club that he signed a new deal,” added Boyd.

“You see managers getting linked here, there and everywhere when they are doing well, and obviously ours was one of them. It’s a reward for the full squad doing well, so it’s a boost for 
everybody.

“We speak about contracts, but let’s be realistic, if someone comes along and pays Kilmarnock any money then he’s going to go. We aren’t daft, we know how football works.

“But I think it’s good for us to have him there, especially for the youngsters. The discipline off the pitch is key to them if they want to have a prolonged career in football. They get to listen to someone who has played at the top, managed top players, and take in every bit of information that they possibly can from him. Then, whether he is here or not longer term, he can still have an impact on your career.

“A lot of people ask what it is the 
manager does that is so special, and it is that he keeps everything so simple. Everything is crystal clear, so we 
know exactly where we are on a 
football pitch and we know what is expected.

“The public only see the football pitch, but what the manager has done in and about the place has totally transformed the football club. Everybody knows that if you don’t perform in training between a Monday and a Saturday then you aren’t going to be playing. The standards aren’t going to change.

“It might not always work on the pitch because the other team will have the same desire to win a game of football as you do, but we know that if we train properly and get our best 11 then we can be a match for anybody.

“We proved that last season, even against the Old Firm. Aberdeen were the only team that we didn’t beat last season, so we’ve more than matched just about everybody and I’m sure the manager will want to do the same again, or even better it.

“It will be more difficult this time and we’re under no illusions that we probably did overachieve last season. When you look at five of the top six last year, the amount of money they spend on their budget is way bigger than anyone else in the league, so you’re probably looking at ourselves, St Johnstone, Motherwell and Dundee to be in that area fighting.

“If we can put a run together like we did last season, then 
we know we’ve got a team capable of getting results. We proved it last season, and 
we have an opportunity to do that again.”