Kilmarnock V Partick at Rugby Park : Match Preview

06 May 2016
Kilmarnock V Partick - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Greg Kiltie desperate for Kilmarnock to avoid relegation

Kilmarnock wide player Greg Kiltie is determined to continue his football education in the top flight.

The Ayrshire side occupy the Premiership relegation play-off place with three games left but Kiltie's first-half double at New Douglas Park last Saturday helped maintain their hopes of avoiding an unwanted extension to their season.

A 4-0 win over Hamilton cut the deficit on Accies to four points and Killie can now drag Partick Thistle back into the mix at Rugby Park on Saturday, when they have the chance to halve their six-point disadvantage against the Jags.

Kiltie signed a new contract in January after attracting attention from elsewhere and the 19-year-old has no intention of playing Championship football.

"None of the players, even if they are out of contract, wants the team to go down," he said. "Who wants relegation on their CV? It's not right.

"Obviously Kilmarnock should be in the top flight and that's where we are aiming to keep them.

"I'm young but I want to play as many games at the highest level as possible. There's no way we want to go into the Championship, I want to stay in the top league in Scotland and play as many games as possible at Kilmarnock."

Lee Clark has given Kilmarnock belief that they can avoid the drop and Kiltie explained how the recently-appointed manager had helped him.

"He gives everyone confidence," the teenager said. "He says that he believes in you, so if your manager tells you he believes in you then it's a great boost."

Kilmarnock goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald returns from suspension against Partick.

MacDonald is likely to replace Conor Brennan despite the Northern Ireland Under-21 international's impressive clean sheet against Hamilton.

Defenders Steven Smith (hip), David Syme (fractured leg) and Mark Connolly (hip) are out for the season while winger Chris Johnston (knee) is pushing for involvement after a lengthy lay-off.

Partick left-back Callum Booth claims they are finally ready to put their top-six disappointment behind them as they look to confirm their superiority over the bottom three.

Thistle were an equalising goal against Ross County away from making the top six but two more defeats, the latest a 4-1 home loss to Inverness, have given Kilmarnock hope of dragging them back into play-off contention.

Thistle are unbeaten in nine league games this season against the teams below them and face Dundee United and Hamilton in their final two matches.

Booth said: "It's been a disappointing couple of weeks but we need to put that right on Saturday.

"Maybe being one goal away from the top six, you are on a little bit of a comedown. And then we have had two hard games, Inverness and Dundee are both good teams.

"But we have done well against the next three teams we are playing, we are unbeaten in the league against them.

"That gives us hope and we have worked hard in training on a few things after Saturday's disappointment so hopefully we can put that right on Saturday.

"We have been solid all season, and last season as well our defensive record was superb. So to concede four goals at home was not great but hopefully it was just a blip. We have worked hard on defending all week and hopefully that shows."

Booth has returned to training after going off against Inverness with a knock but Partick have a fitness doubt over defender Liam Lindsay.

Goalkeeper Tomas Cerny (foot) is still out along with midfielders Gary Fraser and Stuart Bannigan (both knee).

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