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2007 CIS Cup Final Build!

Mar 18th...
Only Eddie Turnbull (Aberdeen, Hibs)   and Alex Smith (St Mirren, Aberdeen )have, in modern times, won silverware at two different Scottish non-Old Firm clubs..

JJ On Joining Turnbull & Smith... "It would be great to join managers of that calibre who've picked up two trophies at different clubs. It just doesn't happen too often because of the strength of the Old Firm. It's harder to win a trophy than it was 10 years ago. You could try to compare it with winning the Scottish Cup at Hearts, and ask what's the greater achievement. You can't separate the two in terms of the glory side of it. Hearts hadn't won the cup for 40 years and when we took over they were struggling a bit. The major difference is that we built a team there by spending money. It wasn't a lot - the whole team cost £750,000 - and compared with Rangers and Celtic it was peanuts. But here we won't have spent one penny on the XI who will start against Hibs, plus the substitutes. The sense of achievement in getting a team to a final is greater than it was with Hearts in 1998. If we win, there won't be any transfer money or increase in wages. But I won't have to make any more cuts like I've had to do in the past."

Mar 17th...
Rocco Quinn on Being in Killie’s CIS Cup Final Squad… "I don't think it would do my chances any harm if I went back to Celtic with a medal, and for me personally to return there having been through the experience of taking part in a cup final would be great.  
It is absolutely massive for me to possibly be playing in a final at this stage of my career as I am only 20 years old and this is my first time out on loan.
It is also my first real taste of first-team football so it would be brilliant if I could win a major trophy so soon after coming to Kilmarnock."

JJ On Nish Ribbing Kris Boyd…"There is still a lot to do to win the cup from our point of view, but I don't think Kris has been to a major final since he moved to Rangers, I am sure Colin (Nish) will remind him of that if we win because they were great friends when at Kilmarnock and were room-mates when we used to go away. We were certainly never short of a laugh when those two were together, but for now I think Colin will be concentrating all of his efforts on the game against Hibs."
J On His Preperations..."It isn't easy for the players because their minds wander; it's a great occasion, One or two of the lads haven't been to Hampden so I decided to take them across for a look. (on Friday) It is the national stadium - there was nothing wrong with playing at Celtic Park but there is something special about Hampden. A lot of them have never played in a similar atmosphere before; it will hit them when they walk down the tunnel. Finals which don't involve the Old Firm tend to be more open games, There are two teams who know they are capable of beating each other. There have been some cracking games between us recently and a lot of goals scored."
JJ On the Importance of the Game..."I have stressed to the players that you won't get many chances to win silverware, especially when you don't have to play Rangers or Celtic in the final, because normally one of the Old Firm make it that far. This is possibly our best chance ever and the two teams going into this game are sitting level on points in the SPL. In the three games we have played so far this season, we have both had a win and the other match was a draw. So it is all set up for a good game between two teams who like to attack and will have a go at each other. The only thing that could stop it being a great final is players freezing on the big occasion, but hopefully that doesn't happen and we are all able to watch a wonderful match. The spin-off for us is that if we can get a couple of thousand from the 18,000 who will be at the final attending our home games every other week then that would make an absolutely huge difference. That could allow us to guarantee survival, because each year we have been successful it has not been so we can go out and buy players, rather it is so we don't have to make major cuts as we did in my first two or three seasons here".

Latest Team News:
Kilmarnock defender Grant Murray is battling to overcome a hamstring injury ahead of Sunday's CIS Insurance Cup final.

Goalkeeper Alan Combe will be fit to play after a calf injury but David Fernandez (knee), Rhian Dodds, Momo Sylla and Danny Invincibile (all groin) remain on the sidelines and Willie Gibson is cup-tied having played for Queen of the South earlier in the competition.

Mar 16th ....
Colin Nish may
have grown up as part of a Hibs-loving Musselburgh family but Nish won't be giving his lifelong allegiance to the Easter Road outfit a second thought when he crosses the white line at the weekend, not when he has the chance to make history by being part of the first Kilmarnock team to win the League Cup. .....

 "I was a Hibs fan as a boy - my entire family were. I remember them winning the Skol Cup in 1991 but I didn't go to the Final. I was quite young then and didn't go through but I saw it on TV. I used to go their games but then my football got in the way. My dad Adam and brother Graeme always went to their games though. Keith Wright was the guy I looked up to in those days but although I don't go to their games now, my big brother Graeme still does.  I go on the odd occasion, like the semifinal last year against Hearts when they lost 4-0. But when you are a player it is hard to support another team. "I'm sure my family will be supporting me. My dad will definitely want Kilmarnock to win. He goes to all my games but my big brother's loyalties will be 50-50!  My girlfriend and her entire family are Hearts fans, so they'll definitely want Kilmarnock to win. They are all in the Kilmarnock end.  But I'm not the only Hibs fan in the dressing room. Alan Combe is too and he's like me in that when he gets the chance to go and see them he does. He'll be desperate to beat them and keep a clean sheet because he goes nuts whenever he loses a goal, no matter who it is against.  I don't think it matters who you are playing against. You have to try to treat it like any other game and we are confident if we play well we've got a great chance of winning the Cup. I have also got a decent scoring record against them so that helps the confidence."

"Everyone's playing with confidence and in the run-up to it we have all been fighting for cup final places so that has perhaps added a bit extra to us. I think we deserve to be here because we've had a good season up until now."

Mar 15th...
JJ on Jacko..."He has a good engine, good feet and good pace, and he can do something a little bit unexpected."

Di Giacomo has recently been used in a wide right midfield role, and his instinct, as a striker, has been to attack.

Jefferies believes the Glaswegian can torment Hibernian on Sunday.

"He can certainly baffle the opposition, because sometimes he even baffles himself!" Jefferies joked.

"Paul is a terrific player though and this game has come round at the right time for him, because when you are in form then you have to be in with a chance of playing."

Mar 14th
JJ on His Squad...
"None of the players who will be involved in the squad will have cost us a penny in transfer
fees," he said yesterday, doing his sums from the team's headquarters at the Fairmont St Andrews Bay Hotel.

"They all came because they were either out of contract or were released from their clubs. To give an example, I saved the club money by selling Greg Shields to Dunfermline and bringing in David Lilley. That's the way it has been for us every year."

Jefferies' signings range from the sublime to the seemingly ridiculous. Few would have contemplated signing Allan Johnston from Middlesbrough, a winger on Premiership wages and beset by injury. Yet in two and a half years he has not only vindicated Jefferies' persistence, but revived a career.

"He was the one we did not think we would get, It was a measure of the man that he gave up better offers financially to come here and play regularly."

Frazer Wright will line up against Hibernian to complete his own personal reinvention. Wright was signed from Stranraer having shown a flicker of promise during Jefferies' scouting trawls in the lower divisions. "I think some players thought I was mad, that I'd lost it, when I brought him, We worked hard on his fitness and honing his talent and has never been out of the team since unless through injury."

Grant Murray's rejuvenation sits somewhere in between. A player well-known to Jefferies from his time as Hearts manager appeared to be winding down his career at Partick Thistle until an unexpected phone call. "I told him if he got in the team he could keep his place and he has done that, It's about giving players that opportunity."

Mar 13th...
Manager Jim Jefferies...
"If we win the League Cup then people will try to compare it with when I won the Scottish Cup at Hearts, but I have told them that I will never be able to do that.  I supported Hearts as a boy, played for them for a long time and then managed them which made it very special.  However, I think you can separate the circumstances rather than the glory side of things.  The achievements are totally different, because although Hearts were struggling and that's why I got the job, in the subsequent two years we got to cup finals and earned some good positions in the league.  That gave the club a little bit of money to go and get players such as Colin Cameron, Neil McCann and David Weir. But we still didn't pay a lot of money and the team who played in the final in 1998 against Rangers only cost £750,000, which is peanuts compared to what other clubs were spending in those days. This is totally different though, as at Kilmarnock I have had to cut the wage bill and even in getting into the top six for the last couple of seasons, we haven't been able to generate that much money. Not one penny has been spent on the players who will make up the squad on Sunday, from those who take to the park to the substitutes. I will always look back on a fantastic day for Hearts when we won the cup, but the bottom line is that this has been done under different circumstances and from a sense of achievement this could be the best if we manage to pull if off," Jefferies explained. Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves given what we have done, not just given the financial side of things, but because we are trying to be successful under the philosophy of playing entertaining football."

Paul Di Giacomo... "If selected it will definitely be the biggest  game of my career and when you are a young boy you dream of running out at Hampden for a cup final.  I am feeling good and I don't think I could have done anything more in the last two games to get picked. I have done my chances no harm whatsoever, but it is the manager's choice and we will just have to wait and see what happens when he reads out his team. I fractured my cheekbone at Christmas time and I was out for over six weeks. I just had to be patient when I was trying to break back into the team, but my timing seems to have been perfect, which is something Allan Johnston was having a laugh with me about the other day. I have come back into the side and fought my corner well, so I would say that I am in the frame, but I am not sure if I will start."

Gordon Greer...  'We've come up to St Andrews for a few days to help us prepare for the match. It's been nice and relaxed, but all the boys are buzzing and can't wait for the game to come along. Hibs are a good side and it's going to be a really testing afternoon, but I think we can do it. I  think my last cup final would have been at Port Glasgow when I played in the Evening Times Cup- Winners' Cup before I joined Clyde"

Stephen Naismith....
"It will be a great occasion but you have to trick your mind into thinking it's just a normal game," he said. "The game has changed so much in 10 years, so the 1997 team probably has no relevance in terms of pointers. Ray is still around the club and always tells us how enjoyable it was and we want to be part of that experience too.  I was only 10 at the time but I was at the game and it was a great feeling for the town and the club. This would be the best week of everybody's careers."

Naismith will be cheered on by 50 friends and family. "It puts extra pressure on you to perform but I'm used to it by now because they come to most of my games," he said. "It will make for a great atmosphere."

There will be countless others in attendance with more than a passing interest in Naismith's performance. "There has been a lot of speculation but I am a Kilmarnock player and that is my only thought ahead of this game," he added. "Scoring in the cup final at Hampden would top the lot, even my hat trick in the semi. My only cup final experience was a youth cup final at under-19 level. We beat Rangers 1-0 so that can help me."

Latest Team News:

Alan Combe appears to be winning his fitness battle to play in Sunday's CIS Insurance Cup final against Hibernian.

But the Kilmarnock goalkeeper remained at Rugby Park for intensive treatment rather than head to St Andrews with the rest of the squad.

Manager Jim Jefferies still has an injury concern over Grant Murray, who aggravated a hamstring strain against Inverness on Saturday.

The former Patrick Thistle defender faces a fitness test on Friday.

Mon 12th Mar... Steven Naismith shares his thoughts on Sunday's CIS Final... "I've never played at Hampden and it will be great to finally get the chance to play at such a wonderful stadium" - More

Tuesday 6th March...
Jacko hoping that Mar 18th is a real "Fine Day" for him - Here

Sandy Ferguson's Match Pics Here Preview Here Match Report Here

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