Date of Birth: August 15th 1990
Birth Place: Bangor, Northern Ireland
Previous Clubs: Bryansburn Rangers, Lisburn Distillery, Glentoran, Cardiff City, Grimsby Town (loan), Aberdeen, St. Mirren (loan)
Killie Contract: July 16th 2014 (3 Year Deal)
International: 2 Appearances for Northern Ireland U17's. 6 Appearances for Northern Ireland U19's (1 Goal). 17 Appearances for Northern Ireland U21's (4 Goals). 15 Caps for Northern Ireland, including scoring his first goal that sent N I to the 2016 Euro Championships.
Landmarks: Killie debut August 9th 2014 at Dens Park in a 1-1 draw with Dundee in the Scottish Premiership. First Killie Goal on August 16th 2014 in a 1-2 SPL win over Ross County in Dingwall.
December 15th 2012: “I remember Kenny [Shiels] from coaching the young Northern Ireland teams. He has always been a bit outspoken – I think all Northern Irish people are! If he’s got an opinion he’ll tell you. He won’t keep something behind closed doors if he thinks it should be said. Some people like it. They prefer to hear straight talking while others will want to beat around the bush. Kenny isn’t one who does that, he’s up front. I prefer someone who speaks their mind. With Killie having Kenny and Jimmy Nicholl there if you need some confidence you’d better ring your mum or something! They are a good partnership because they’ve taken on what Mixu Paatelainen had started there and kept it going. There is a big Northern Irish influence in the league just now. With more coverage on the telly people back home are starting to notice the other clubs a bit more. There’s always been interest in the Old Firm but now people are maybe looking at the other Northern Irish players and managers more closely. The SPL is getting better. People say social media is a bad thing but it has given a profile to clubs and players.” - The Sun, Robert Thomson, 15th December 2012July 3rd 2014: "It was good to hear from Allan Johnston and Gary Locke to come down and train and just see what the club is about. Hopefully I'll be able to get something sorted here. If it doesn't happen then there's a couple of other things in the fire but as you know in football nothing is certain. Until a deal happens you have to keep things close to your chest because you don't want to look like a fool if it doesn't happen." - STV, 3rd July 2014
July 20th 2014: "Kris was a hero for Kilmarnock last season. He is a fantastic player, I used to watch him when he was at Rangers before. There will be a lot of expectation on the strikers to replace those goals but it’s important we’re not in a position where we keep on relying on one person. We can’t have a repeat of last season and I’m feeling confident. The manager has a fantastic mix of experience and youth here and we can do well. It’s fantastic for me to come off the bench [Annan Ath] and score.” - Daily Record, Alan Marshall, 21st July 2014
August 24th 2014: “We are playing with an arrogance and style that makes us think we are going to win every game. We’re striving for top six minimum and creating a lot of chances. We’re going to absolutely turn over a team with a high scoreline if we keep playing like this. I feel like I should be scoring with every shot I hit. That's just the way I am. Unfortunately that's not the case and sometimes they go for you and sometimes they don't. I'm just glad I'm in the positions to miss chances, rather than not be in the positions at all. I'm fully confident in myself that I will score a lot of goals this season. I spent four years at Aberdeen where I was third or fourth choice in the pecking order and I wasn't really getting a run. When I came here, I spoke to the gaffer and said I need a run of games. We were honest with each other and he told me if I was doing it in training and showing it in games, I would continue to play in his team. I've played four on the bounce and it's fantastic he has that faith in me. When a manager has faith in you, it gives you confidence." - Sunday Mail, David McCarthy, 24th August 2014
September 26th 2014: The best thing about it [start of season] is I've been playing, I've finally got a manager who has put his trust in me, which is absolutely fantastic. That's the conversation that cemented the deal, that I would get my chance and as long as I'm doing the business I will stay in the team. Under Craig Brown I played 15 games at right-back. He needed me to play there for the team and that's the way it is, but when I signed here the manager told me I would be playing up front unless we are struggling. At previous clubs, no disrespect, I was never really the person to be playing up front. It was always in for one, out for a couple, but here the gaffer has put his trust in me. I feel I'm repaying it in a way even though I have only scored one, against Ross County. I'm harsh on myself, I should have scored against Motherwell and Hamilton. But I'm happy to be in those positions to score and it's great to have a manager who has that faith in me and the only way to repay him is to keep doing solid performances. The gaffer talks about goals every day in training and the minimum to work the goalkeeper. I know it's going to be a matter of time before they start going in and hopefully they come thick and fast." - Press Association, Eurosport, 26th September 2014
January 12th 2015: "We blew it [against Inverness]. It was completely our fault. The manager sets out the team but when we cross the white line it is up to us. When you are not doing it at a club it’s always the manager who gets the stick because people think it is all down to him. But he gave us our instructions, we were drilled from Monday to Friday and told what to do. After that it’s the 11 men on the pitch and we didn’t do the manager or Gary Locke justice. It was a bit of a shambles. We went 1-0 up and they go down to 10 men so we should be seeing it through comfortably. I had a chance at 1-0 with a header which I put over the bar. We should have gone 2-0 up and then coasted from there but we gave them too much respect when they had 10 men and didn’t press the game. That is what happens in this league. It can change in the blink of an eye but it wasn’t good enough. Maybe it’s a mentality thing from the boys but the gaffer gave us our instructions from the sidelines and we didn’t take it on board. These are the games we need to be winning if we want to finish in the top six and there are few better situations than being 1-0 up and the opponents down to 10 men. Of course some of it was venomous but that is football. You have fans who pay their hard-earned money and want to be entertained. They probably felt the frustration of being 1-0 up as well and ending the day by losing 2-1. The gaffer is the closest one to them on the sidelines and he gets it but he’s been in the game a long time and he’s a great professional. It [penalty] was the manager’s decision. Jamie Hamill is normally the man but at St Mirren I felt my leg for the first penalty and Alexei hit it and Craig Slater hit the next one. I said if I won one again I was going to hit it but the gaffer said Alexei was in form and hadn’t missed. You have to listen to the manager. What he says goes. I had to respect the decision and forget about it. Our gaffer wants us to play with confidence and you can’t play that way if everyone is hammering and battering you so he takes the brunt of it and tells us to play with freedom. That’s why we want to do so well for him because he is the type of person who wants us to concentrate on the 90 minutes and he says he’ll deal with the rest. But it is unfortunate hearing it and seeing it. People come and want to see their home team doing well so have every right to shout and we just have to take it on board. It’s hard to say we owe him because we don’t go out there to intentionally play badly. Sometimes things don’t happen on a Saturday and this was one of the toughest results to take throughout the season so far because we were up and had a chance to cruise the game. But the only way we can repay the gaffer, ourselves and the fans is to kick on and win against Motherwell. That’s the aim.” - Daily Record, Craig Swan, 12th January 2015
February 16th 2015: "Basically he [Locke] said his job is in our hands, it's a results based business so we have to get results for him to stay as manager. Everyone wants him to stay. He made it very clear on the day he took over what he wants to do. He called us in for a team meeting and it was very clear what his ambition was. He made it clear what he expected from everybody and said if you're not doing it you're not going to play. He got everyone's attention and seems to have kept it by the way we're playing, and hopefully we can continue on and push for the top six, which was our target from the start of the season. We had no clue [AJ leaving], we were in training and he was taking training just like a normal day, I was going to Craig Samson's house and he rang me and said 'I have to do the whole interview again, the gaffer's said he's leaving at the end of the season'. He hadn't told the players and it was a shock because normally you can sense when someone's not really in it any more, but he still had the same enthusiasm. There was nothing at all and that's what baffled the boys - he should play poker because he has a great poker face. Unfortunately when he said that, he put the board in a difficult position and there's only one winner and that's the chairman." - BBC, 16th February 2015
February 20th 2015: "I've been doing extra work after training but it’s mainly down to the players around me like Alexei Eremenko and Tope Obadeyi giving me the service I need. I always believed in myself and knew I would score if the chances came, so I didn’t let it affect me when I wasn't scoring. But, of course, when you watch the TV highlights and see the same players scoring every week, they could be having their best or worst game and it doesn't matter as long as they put the ball in the net. When Billy Mckay was at Inverness he could be anonymous for 80 minutes but he’d still pop up with a couple of wonder goals. Earlier in the season we went on a nine-game unbeaten run and I only scored three times. I was delighted we were winning but as a striker you really want to be on the scoresheet. Hopefully I've now started on a run because I don’t just want to be known as a guy who puts in a shift but doesn't score too often. Maybe I need to be a bit more selfish at times but it’s a fine line. This is a team game and if you become too greedy your team-mates might lose some respect for you and be reluctant to give you the ball. However, if you’re too nice that can hinder your own performance, so you need to find the perfect balance. The other lads now know that, from 20 yards and in, I’m going to shoot. My ambition is to be known as a player who can provide a variety of finishes, putting them into the top corner from 30 yards or from point-blank range. After Celtic, they [Inverness] are the form team in the league and it’s a tough place to go. It’s a four-hour drive and they have the open stadium which the wind blows through. The key factor, though, is they are a good side with footballing ability and the desire to win games through graft. That combination is hard to break down but we’re full of confidence after beating Dundee United last week.” - Daily Record, Craig Swan, 20th February 2015
May 13th 2015: “It would be morally wrong for the game. It would be very, very disappointing if you just had two teams playing out a draw. Jim McIntyre and Billy Dodds will be telling their players the same thing that our gaffer is telling us – you are out to win your last two games, regardless of the situation. We want to finish the season on a high note. We don’t want to be known as a team who stayed up by pussyfooting a 1-1 or 0-0 draw on the last day of the season. I’m not going to lie, it is hard. At one stage of the season we were even second in the league. Then we plateaued out which was expected because our squad isn’t the biggest and we got a few injuries. We never expected to find ourselves in this situation. We thought we would be home and dry by now. In February we were close to claiming a place in the top six. Now, three months later, we need to win our last two matches to avoid being in the relegation play-offs. But it’s now up to us to make sure Kilmarnock are in the Premiership next season. We have a lot of strong characters in our changing room. It’s the more senior ones who are trying to get through to the younger players. But we need to stick together. Our future is still in our own hands.”
"It is always the gaffer who takes the flak first but he can only prepare Monday to Friday and as soon as we go on the pitch it is up to us to do our job for him, unfortunately for the last seven games we haven't done that. Seven defeats in a row hasn't been good enough. So it is time we grew up and became big boys and showed two performances that is going to save our season. We are playing for people's livelihoods. As you have seen at St Mirren there has been a clear-out (since relegation), people's jobs have gone and we don't need that. This is a family-orientated club and we need everyone pulling in the same direction. I think we will get out of it - if I didn't, I shouldn't be in football. But we all have to rally together and see the season out. Even though Partick Thistle are a very good side, half of their team probably want the season to end so they can get away on their holidays and relax. They have done fantastic this season. Their job is done, they got what they wanted which is to be safe and be in the Premiership next season. Unfortunately we haven't done that yet. When I went to St Mirren last season there was overwhelming pressure but when you get over the hill and your status is safe, there is a massive relief. It is not that as a professional, you take your foot off the afterburner but there is no added pressure. Everyone can relax, everyone can look forward to next season, people's livelihoods are safe and you don't have to worry about anything apart from booking your holidays. It was a great feeling."
“I like our pitch, when it’s wet, as it is most weeks in Scotland, it is a very good surface. It is an even playing surface for both teams. There are no bobbles and it is good for the standard of football we try to play. Maybe we have a slight advantage, in that we train on it nearly every day. We are used to it now. But at the start of the season, when it was first introduced, it did take three or four weeks for us to get used to it. Unlike with grass, there is no give in it. The surface doesn’t go from under you. For players coming here after playing on grass or muck, or whatever they’re training on, at this stage of the season – I do understand what they are talking about, But we like it. You might have to manage your body a bit more, with lower back pain and stuff like that. But it’s football and you get pain anywhere you play, if you are putting the work in. That’s what the physios and sports scientists are for. Our players like it – it runs true and we are happy playing on it. I’ll play on any surface, it doesn’t bother me at all. It does dry out quickly if you don’t water it. Especially when you have technical players, it can be a problem – sometimes Alexei Eremenko tries to do step-overs on it when it’s dry and they don’t come off. But the drainage system on it is very, very good. It does need to be watered constantly and you’ll see the sprinklers on before the game and at half-time when we play at home. It needs to be wet to be at its true potential. Again, you don’t want too much water on it because it can get waterlogged, so it’s just a case of trying to get the gist of it and manage it as best you can.” - The Herald, 13th May 2015
May 21st 2015: "I understand why the [headbut on Hamill] incident was highlighted but I am really glad the decision was overturned and I can now concentrate on my football,"
August 15th 2015: “It would be criminal of me to have someone like that [Kris Boyd] at the club and not learn from him – just stupid. Having someone like that teaching you is unbelievable and you try to take as much into your game as possible. Kris is a proven scorer in all leagues and you can’t not pay attention when he signs for a club. People said he had a tough season last year but he still scored 10 goals. For a striker to get double figures from a bad season is very impressive so I was over the moon when I heard he was signing. I told him from day one I’d be picking his head to help me improve my own game. Some players would tell their agent they want out when they heard Kris was signing because you know he’s not come here to sit on a bench but I didn’t want out. I’ve learned so much already even though he might not know it. Everyone knows I’m quite fiery and sometimes I let things beat me up. Kris told me not to worry about misses, it’s about getting back on the horse and going again. I want to form a partnership and feel myself and Kris could work well together. His strength is coming to the ball and mine is going in behind. I’d like to create a partnership that could be formidable as there’s not much between the teams in this league.” - Daily Record, Craig Swan, 15th August 2015
August 28th 2015: "For me, those kind of people [Gordon Sawer] are not fans. If they want to do that, then to me they are poison. They pay their money so all due respect. But then they get airtime on the radio and it just gets promoted. For me, people like that are irrelevant to my life. If you listen to that kind of stuff and you take it on board, you are not a footballer. For me, that just goes in one ear and out the other. The Dundee game at the start of the season was an embarrassment to football. It was a disaster. No-one showed up, not even the subs. But even though we got beat by the same score at the weekend by Ross County, it was more of a mixed bag. We just got beat by a better team. I don't think any of us failed to show up. We created a few chances but still looked vulnerable in defence. It was better but still the same result. A loss is still a loss whether you concede one goal or four. Has the flak been hard to take? Maybe for some but as a footballer you've just got to take it. You are paid to be a footballer and you are in the limelight whether you like it or not, whether you try to go under the radar or not. You are always going to get some press. I try not to pay too much attention to the good press or the bad. I try not to get carried away. The criticism we have been getting is well deserved because compared to the start we had last season, this one isn't good enough. But with the quality we have in the team, of course we believe we can turn it around. I will back us against anyone. Unfortunately so far we haven't hit out stride. I'd just ask the fans to stick with us. They have every right to be a bit weary. They pay their hard-earned money to come watch us. We're not entertaining them right now but hopefully we will be playing exciting and expansive football soon. They just need to be patient." - Press Association, 28th August 2015
December 19th 2015: [Post 0-4 defeat at home to Aberdeen] "It was just one of those days where nothing went right for us. We couldn’t string two passes together. When we are bad, we are terrible. You’ve seen that against Ross County, Dundee, Partick Thistle and here. We are a good team on our day but we don’t know what we are going to get from week to week. It’s all right doing it in training but Saturday is where it counts. More often than not this season, we haven’t done it. I felt we had taken strides forward to eradicate those type of displays after the Celtic game. But when you let quality players play, they punish you. That was seen here. There were individual mistakes all over the pitch. People think being a professional footballer is glitz and glamour. It’s not. It’s hard work. Day in and day out. You have to give everything you have. The fans contribute to wages, to the club, to the community. They are well entitled to voice their opinion. We are paid to entertain. What was seen there, and last week, is not entertainment. It’s not good enough. The flak we are going to get is justified. And we have to take it on the chin. As a professional athlete, you have to take the negative with the good and power through. We have to show people that we can bounce back. We owe it to ourselves but most importantly to the gaffer. The players have to take full responsibility. I heard people giving the gaffer abuse but it shouldn’t be directed at him. We have to step up as players. The performances this season haven’t been good enough. We take 10 steps forward and a million steps back. The last two weeks have been dreadful. Against Inverness, the first half was an absolute disgrace. And we carried it into this week. When you are playing a team pushing for the league, you can’t afford anything but your best. We are second bottom for a reason. I’m thankful Inverness scored in the last minute or Dundee United would have cut the gap more. We have to turn it around. We are the only people who can get us out of it. The penny has dropped. The performances over the last few weeks have been up and down. But there were a few home truths told in the dressing room. Everyone got the message from the manager and the backroom staff." - Daily Record, Craig Swan, December 19th 2015
July 18th 2016: “The Euros was a massive high, not only for myself, but the rest of my team-mates and the whole country. We were written off by some people, but we continued to make history, and prove people wrong. The team sprit we have with the Northern Ireland squad is up there with the best I’ve ever been involved with. With Kilmarnock, we’ll probably be written off right from the start, as we are every season. The past couple of seasons it’s been justified given our form. Where we’ve finished in the league, especially last season, having to go all the way down to the final day in the play-off was tough. But we don’t really listen to what other people say.