Kilmarnock V Hearts at Rugby Park : Match Preview

25 October 2016
Kilmarnock V Hearts - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Lee Clark: I have no problem convincing Kilmarnock players to up work-rate

Lee Clark says has no problem convincing his Kilmarnock players to up their work-rate - because the evidence backing it up is down in black and white.

The Rugby Park boss has been delighted with his team after claiming four points from their last two games away to St Johnstone and Inverness.

He believes the key to victory in Perth and a decent draw in the Highlands was the energy his side put into their performances.

And if any of his players doubt his assessment, Clark can quickly point to the statistical data put together by his back-room staff which shows a direct correlation between they graft they put in and the points they take out.

Now he wants his team to sweat it out again when they host Robbie Neilson's industrious Hearts on Wednesday night.

He said: "One of the things I wanted to improve on when I came to the club was the physical aspect. If you have high fitness levels you give yourself a chance in any game.

"It's been quite simple this season - our best results have come when our physical data is higher than the opposition.

"When we do the debrief with the players it is quite easy to show them the stats which show that when we run harder and further than the other side we more than likely get a positive result.

"When we have come off those levels, that's when we have suffered.

"I'd love to be Luis Enrique and have a team of globetrotters who sweep everyone else off the park with their scintillating football.

"We are where we are and deal with what we have to deal with.

"So the big thing for us is the fitness levels and we certainly won't be getting done over when it comes to those stats this season."

Robbie Neilson knows Hearts cannot compete with Celtic's spending power - but hopes the full Jambos package will land him the players he needs to topple the Hoops.

The Parkhead outfit underlined their domestic superiority with Sunday's dominant display against Rangers in the Betfred Cup semi-finals.

No Scottish side has managed to beat Brendan Rodgers' rampant leaders so far this term and excited Celtic supporters are already speculating on whether their team can complete the league season undefeated.

Neilson's men have, however, proved that they can run the champions close after a narrow defeat on the opening day of the campaign.

But the head coach wants Hearts to have higher ambitions than giving the Glasgow giants the odd fright.

And with the Gorgie side now able to access training facilities at the new Oriam centre at Heriot-Watt University and construction of a new main stand at Tynecastle due to begin in just over a month's time, Neilson reckons the future looks promising.

He said: "Everyone hopes to make a sustained challenge. That's what we're aiming for.

"We're already looking at the January window and thinking about where we can make the squad better.

"It's difficult challenging against Celtic. Just look at the size of their squad and the revenue they get. They get B#20-odd million from the Champions League.

"They are buying guys for B#3million, B#4million, B#5million and our job is to compete with them - but we feel we can do it.

"We showed that in the first game of the season where we should have got a draw.

"We're not going to go out and buy a guy for B#3million and pay them B#40,000 a week. We have to make sure we recruit well, grow slowly and eventually overtake them.

"We have the best training facility in Scotland by a country mile now. We fly guys in to show them this fantastic facility from Edinburgh Airport, which is 10 minutes away. We take them to the stadium which is getting redeveloped. We then take them to the city centre which is lovely. So the whole package is there. It's just the finances which are not - but we hope over time that will come."

Kilmarnock Match Reports

Scottish Premiership Wed 24th January 00:00

Kilmarnock P - P St Johnstone

Last game - Match Centre

Trending on the boards