Friday Night Championship Showdown
April 22nd 2022
April 22nd 2022
Derek McInnes: "In terms of the build-up I liken it to cup finals and semi-finals," he said.
"It's important you try and stay measured and consistent with how you work.
"We've got a way of working we think suits us and neither to be too up nor down with it. The players don't need to be reinforce the importance of the game, they'll be getting that and feeling that.
I just want them to have the belief in each other to go and deal with the game.
"The last home game here there was a lot on it. Dunfermline were the form team going into the game and the way we played that day was as good as we've been.
"We want to try more of the same of what we've been getting, which has been good enough to put us in this position.
"It's about getting through the line, Friday gives us that opportunity."
Kyle Lafferty: "I came back to Kilmarnock to win the league and get them promoted again.
"I wasn't to come back and score goals for myself or from a personal point of view, it was to get a great club, a Premiership club, back to where they belong.
"If you can't get yourself up for a game like this, I think you have to look at yourself.
"Every single player, no matter what league or standard you play in, it is these games you want to play for and that you obviously want to play in.
"Arbroath have been there all season, they are a good team and we expect a tough game so it will be game on on Friday."
When asked about his future at the club and possibly another crack at top flight Scottish football, Lafferty explained: "I am just here to get Kilmarnock up to the Premiership and then if the manager want to sit down with me or the board want to sit down with me then I'm more than happy.
"I wanted to stay last season, things didn't work out so I am back to put things right this season.
"Hopefully it will be a good end to the season."
Dean Campbell: “We have responded in the right way after the Inverness game.
“Obviously there was the initial disappointment from the game, and the result, but we just had to dust ourselves down and forget about it early.
“The full focus is now on the Arbroath game, we have been upbeat in training, the manager is positive, he is stressing the message that we know what to do.
“A win on Friday will win us the league, that’s all we can think about, when Friday comes we should be good to go.
“If we were offered a situation like this before a ball was kicked you’d probably take it, win a game at home to win the league.
“The objective from the start of the season was to get back to the Premiership, and we now have the chance to do that.
“It’s down to us now, we need to get the job done.”
He added: “It will be a brilliant occasion, I am sure the Killie fans will come in their numbers to support us.
“It will be a great atmosphere, and hopefully we can make them enjoy their night.
All going well it will be a special night for the club, under circumstances if you can make it we would encourage everyone to come along.
“We will need you there in full support, if you back us we will give you everything on the pitch.”
He’s handled a number of huge matches during his management career, Campbell also has big match experience too.
He was part of the Dons team who beat Celtic at Celtic Park to finish second, and he also featured in a Scottish Cup quarter final win against Rangers.
“He knows how to handle these occasions, these are the games that the manager loves the most, and it’s the same for us as players.
“He will keep us right this week, it won’t be any different, it’ll just be a usual week with us focusing on winning the game.”
On his own experience he said: “I have been lucky in my career to play in some really big games already.
I know the pressure that comes in these games, the atmosphere, I feel that I am ready for it.
“I have been successful in some of these games before, and I am hoping to do the same on Friday.
“That experience will help me, playing in front of big crowds isn’t something you get every week, but you lap it up and enjoy it.
“You want to work hard for the paying fans who are parting with their money.
“It’d be my first medal at senior level, that’s why I came here, I wanted to be part of something special.
“Winning a title wherever you may be is memorable and it would stick with me forever.”
Campbell had nothing but praise for Arbroath who have been punching above their weight all season. “They have done very well this year, I am sure no one on the outside really expected them to be here, but internally they’ll have felt all year that they can make a push for it.
“We have played them three times and haven’t got the better of them, we know what to expect, we will be ready for the game.”
Chris Stokes: "I had a good chat with the manager when he first came in. It was just about installing that belief in the players because you could see a few were feeling disappointed and had their heads down. But it wasn’t done and dusted then. It was the middle of the season and there was so much time to go. The main thing was getting the home form sorted. You are not going to win a league title if your home form is not very good. Since he’s come in, we’ve been fantastic at home and got the crowd right behind us in every game.
"You are going out on that pitch with a bounce in your step instead of thinking 'oh, it’s another game at home' and the pressure of everyone coming to watch.
"We are going out with a positive attitude. It’s a case of puffing your chest out and saying: 'Bring it on'.
"That’s been the main thing. Everyone is enjoying home games now, enjoying the added bit of pressure and the excitement.
"That’s what we’re going to need on Friday. These are the games you want to be playing in. You want to be enjoying these games so hopefully it will be a great one on Friday."
"Regardless if you are playing in front of five, 10, 15, 70-odd thousand this is a big pressure game because it’s the games that we are striving to get ourselves towards.
"When we all stepped into this building and came together as a group, we spoke about getting ourselves into a position where we are fighting for a league title and we’ve got ourselves into it.
"We got into Friday with a positive attitude that all that hard work now comes down to this one game."
From the Club: With the home end sold out and over 1500 away tickets sold, the Arbroath home match is set to be played in front of one of the biggest ever crowds at Rugby Park since the capacity was reduced in 1994.
A statement from Killie read: "We’ve stopped ticket sales after reaching capacity in our three home stands and we thank our fans for their fantastic support. "
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