Lee Ashcroft

Vital Statistics

Nickname: Ashy

Position: Defender (Centre Back)

Date of Birth: August 29th 1993

Birth Place: Barrhead, Scotland

Height: 1.80m

Previous Clubs: Kilmarnock Youth

Killie Contract: June 1st 2011. Extended on May 14th 2013 (3 Year Deal)

Left Killie: May 23rd 2016

Landmarks: Killie debut May 11th 2013 as an 88th minute substitute for Momo Sissoko in a 3–2 victory against Dundee at Dens Park in the SPL. First goal was May 15th 2013 in a 1-3 SPL loss to Hibernian at Rugby Park. Made captain at 21 years old on April 4th 2015, in a 1-2 defeat to Motherwell at Rugby Park.

Twitter: @LeeAshcroft5

 

Quotes

December 21st 2013: “I’ve been working hard and playing with the 20s and I’m happy to finally get my chance. The manager has given me a chance and I’ve just got to take it with both hands. We are still disappointed after last week, but we have four big games coming up over the next few weeks. They are four teams who are round about us so we are trying to prepare for those games and move on from the disappointing result at the weekend. They [Partick] are a couple of points ahead of us so it’s a big game and we know it’s going to be a fight. We need to make sure we are up for it and I think most of the boys are after the weekend. We are ready to go again."

May 2nd 2014: “I don’t know what I would have done if this opportunity hadn’t come along. I was at college for a year doing sports science but wasn’t really enjoying it. I was brought up in Barrhead and played with Barrhead Boys Club most of my life then Hillwood for a year which included the Scottish Cup Final in 2010. One month later my dad gave me a phone call to say that Kilmarnock had been in touch and I thought he was joking. Alan Robertson had come to see the final and brought me in when Mixu Paatelainen was in charge at the club. I genuinely didn’t know what I was going to do so I was quite lucky that I got the phone call and things have gone the way they have. I didn’t play pro-youth as I played boys club right up until turning full time. I’m still in touch with most of my friends from school. It’s weird that I used to play with these guys in Barrhead. They can’t believe I’ve made it to where I am. It’s brilliant and they are thrilled for me. It all came down to a bit of luck and being spotted playing at the right time. I don’t know what I would be doing with my life had that not happened. We had some great players at Hillwood but apart from Ross Docherty who joined Livingston, the rest of the boys have slipped away. It’s a bit of luck to get picked up and when nobody comes in for you it’s a case of thinking it’s passed you by. If someone had told me a few years ago that I would be going through to Tynecastle to play in a game of that importance then I would never have believed them. Not a chance. It’s a bit mad. The steps I’ve taken from boys club football, moving full-time and then being here for four years and playing regularly. It’s absolutely amazing but it’s about hard work and having someone with a bit of faith in me. We’ve got quite a young team and despite our position, all the young boys seem to be loving it. A few years ago, you are playing 19s and now you are up playing with the big boys. It’s absolutely brilliant playing every week. To come up to this level has been superb. Don’t get me wrong, this is a lot of pressure at this age because of the situation we are in but it’s just good to be out there playing every week. It’s nerve-racking at times but once you play in the games that disappears. Last year I played the last few games but we were already safe so there wasn’t any real pressure on the games. Now we’re in a tough situation as there are a lot of teams round about us. But we are positive. We know if we win on Sunday we can still get seventh as it’s so tight.”

May 17th 2014: “I left school in fourth year and went to college in Ayr studying sport and fitness. I got my lifeguard badges so if nothing had happened with Killie I’d probably have stuck in at college and done something with that. But I’m glad the call came two years ago to join them for pre-season and I haven’t looked back. To get my three-year deal and make my first start on Wednesday night was absolutely brilliant. To score as well was a huge bonus. It was an amazing feeling. I only found out I was playing just after the pre-match meal. It was better finding out so late because I didn’t have too much time to think about it. I was just hoping I hadn’t eaten too much. My dad Ian was there but my mum Christine is on holiday with my gran in Cyprus. My dad had already texted her to say I’d played but he forgot to mention anything about the goal! So when I told her that she didn’t believe me at first. I think she was disappointed that she missed it but if I keep getting a chance and playing well she’ll have plenty of time to come to see me when she gets home. The goal I scored is as much for them as it is for me because they have done so much to support me. In my first year at Kilmarnock I couldn’t drive so my dad had to take me from Barrhead down to the bus stop at Darnley first thing every morning. He works as a concierge for Glasgow Housing Association which involves nightshifts so he’d often just come straight from his work to give me a lift when he must have just wanted to go to his bed. My dad played junior with Irvine Meadow and was semi-pro at Annan for a while. He was a centre-half like me so he keeps me on the right track. He’s always got his praise for me but is also the first to tell me when I’ve done something wrong. I do moan at him about it but to be honest it does help me because I know he’s done it all and it’s good to learn from him.”

October 31st 2014: "I was actually thinking about waiting until Christmas and then if I was still struggling to get in the team, speak to the manager about going out on loan, but right now I'm our only real back-up centre-half, so I know it would be hard for the manager to let me go. It's frustrating because while I'm ticking over playing reserve games, I'd prefer to go out and get involved in some matches that really mean something. At my age I need to be playing first-team football to keep improving. But I've got my chance this weekend and it is down to myself to take it. We will see how the weekend goes and if he brings Pasca back in afterwards. When Mark [Connolly] came in at the beginning of the season I knew there would be some tough competition to get a start. He has played down in England and done well since he arrived. It has been really frustrating not being able to play. But I can't really go and complain to the gaffer, because Mark and Pasca have been excellent together. I had a feeling I wasn't going to start the season because the two of them were playing together in a lot of the pre-season games. But when we lost Jamie Hamill for the first game of the season and Pasca was moved into midfield, I got my chance at Dundee. I was just unfortunate that the manager wanted to bring Jamie back in and that meant I had to drop back out. Over the last few weeks both the manager and Gary Locke have noticed my head has been down. They came over, had a chat and just told me to bide my time because my chance would come. With Pasca being suspended this weekend, I've now got my chance and I need to make sure I take it."

April 10th 2015: "He [Locke] pulled me in on the Friday and I wasn’t too sure what he was wanting to talk about. He said I was going to be captain, which was a bit of a shock at first because I was thinking it was a bit of a joke. It was amazing, what a feeling it was to take the boys out. It would have been a much better day with the win but it was still a great privilege to walk them out. It’s mad how quick it goes to be honest. We’ve played together in the U20s for years now [David Syme] so we know how each other plays so it wasn’t too bad. He did really well so hopefully we can go on this weekend and get the result. You look at the goals he’s [Adam Rooney] scored for the team and how well the club have done in general. They’ve been brilliant and it’s always a challenge and I relish facing these players. You can see that Ross County won again the other night so it has put a wee bit of pressure on us but we know that if we go out and get another win then we have the confidence to go and challenge at Parkhead. With the split coming we can be as many points ahead as we can before we play against these teams as they are battling for their lives. To be honest it has not been the best personally. At the start I wasn’t playing as much but the boys were doing really well so I couldn’t really go in and complain about not playing. I’ve been given the chance now with Pascali and Mark [Connolly] out so I’ve got responsibility and hopefully we can finish as high up the table as we can."

 

17: Aaron Splaine | 19: Craig Slater


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