Waiting game pays off for new Kilmarnock signing Westlake

DARRYL Westlake is glad he took his time to find a new club following his release by Sheffield United after signing for Kilmarnock this week.
Darryl Westlake: Took time to find club. Picture: SNSDarryl Westlake: Took time to find club. Picture: SNS
Darryl Westlake: Took time to find club. Picture: SNS

The 23-year-old saw his Blades career crumble after Nigel Clough replaced Davie Weir as manager and he spent the second half of last season on loan at Mansfield.

The right-back, who began his career at Walsall, made a total of 27 appearances for the Blades and held out for a decent offer in the summer.

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And he has taken the chance offered to him at Rugby Park after training with the Premiership club for several weeks, having earlier appeared as a trialist in a pre-season friendly against Morecambe.

Westlake, who could make his debut at home to St Mirren today, said: “I had a few teams come in for me but the money wasn’t right. I just waited and I was pleased when the gaffer rang me up and I took the chance to come up here.

“There was a League Two team back in England and I could have signed for them but I’m pleased that I held out. It’s a great club and I’m pleased to be here.”

Westlake had two seasons in South Yorkshire after beginning his career with Walsall, where he made 78 appearances. So he was experienced enough to take the end of his Bramall Lane career on the chin.

“I played for three years at Walsall and came through the youth team,” he said. “It was a great move for me at the time but obviously things didn’t work out last season when the new manager came in. That’s the ups and downs of football and you just have to learn and get on with it.

“I’m 23 now and have had my fair share of managers over the years. The last manager at Sheffield United didn’t want me in his team but you just have to get on with it.”

St Mirren player-coach Gary Teale admits his wife is feeling the brunt of the Paisley club’s dismal start to the season. Teale is still adapting to his new role on the backroom staff after his summer promotion. But after watching his side lose their opening four Premiership matches without scoring a single goal, the former Scotland winger admits he is struggling to leave his work at the front door.

Teale said: “I definitely linger over the defeats a lot more now that I’m on the coaching staff because I’ve got that added responsibility.

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“When things go right then great, but when they go wrong we have to go back to the drawing board. As a player, you are able just to go home, maybe analyse your own performance – where could you have done better? – but then switch off.

“However, now that I’m on this side of the fence I’m analysing how everybody did and it’s harder to switch off.

“I try my best to switch off after a game because my wife and kids have been there to support me and it’s unfair on them to make that continue into our Saturday night.

“Maybe once the kids are put down to bed the wife might get it but I try not to do it with the wee ones because they are young and don’t deserve to have my frustrations taken out on them.”

Manager Tommy Craig has already urged his players not to panic after successive defeats to Motherwell, Hamilton, Dundee and Dundee United. And Teale insists confidence is still high at their Ralston training base.

“Outwith the Hamilton game when we were really poor, we have deserved to take something from the other three games,” he said. “But the spirit in the camp is still great and confidence doesn’t seem to have been affected.”