“It was so important for us to keep him” – Wright lauds brilliant Burke on derby day
After a comfortable Ayrshire Derby victory on Monday night, Tommy Wright spoke to the press as his side went top of the Championship. Seán McGill reports.
Kilmarnock boss Tommy Wright was in high spirits as his side prevailed in the Ayrshire Derby. Man of the match Chris Burke was a constant threat for Killie throughout, with Wright talking up his value to the club on and off the park.
“He is a tremendous professional and a great lad. At the end of the season, he wanted time to think, but I always felt he would re-sign with us. We gave him time and I stayed away from him. I didn’t pester him. He loves it here, he’s on record now saying his whole family are Killie fans.
“It was so important for us to keep him, not only because of what he does on the pitch, but I have two young wingers who I have a lot of high hopes for in Dan Armstrong and Fraser Murray and it’s important they can learn from somebody like Chris Burke.”
The 2-0 win puts Killie top of the Championship table after the first round of fixtures, courtesy of a Liam Polworth opener and a late Innes Cameron penalty. After watching him spurn some good chances, Wright was glad to see his striker get on the scoresheet.
“I was pleased for Innes Cameron and it is probably the best all-round performance he has given us since he came in. He created a lot of chances. You want a centre-forward who can win headers and bring others into play and he done that all night and then got his penalty.”
Wright continues to look for another striker to bolster Killie’s squad, and is currently assessing multiple options before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
“Even though I’ve been praising Innes, and I’ve got Scott Robinson coming back, and I’ve got Rumarn (Burrell), I would still like another striker because it’s going to be a long season and I want competition for places.
“I’ve got five or six in mind, but that’s what you’ve got to do – spin the plates. We’re not close to anyone at the minute, but that can change.
“I want competiton for places and healthy pressure. I want a dressing room that is all together and a dressing room that has one aim and that is to get this club out of this division.”
3,692 Killie fans made their voices heard inside a rowdy Rugby Park on derby day, with Wright keen to praise the influence supporters have and the bond being built between them and his players.
“You have to work hard and work to get possession back. We did that and we were patient too. The fans deserve a lot of credit because they stayed with us.
“I would have liked to have more fans in and some of their fans in. The atmosphere was brilliant. Hopefully we can start getting more in.
“We dominated the game. The point about the fans is that when you dominate the game there can be frustration in the crowd but there wasn’t. It is difficult as times because they feel you should be ahead when you’re not but there is a real connection between us.”