Kilmarnock V St Johnstone at Rugby Park : Match Preview

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22 December 2016
Kilmarnock V St Johnstone - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Jordan Jones settled at Kilmarnock and enjoying being part of close-knit squad

Kilmarnock winger Jordan Jones believes the togetherness among the squad is helping on and off the park.

The 22-year-old was one of 17 summer signings and, like most of them, came to Ayrshire from England in the formative years of his career.

After a difficult start to the season, Killie have consolidated well and sit in seventh place in the Ladbrokes Premiership ahead of Friday's visit of St Johnstone.

And Jones feels the bond among the players will be crucial ahead of a busy festive schedule.

"We are quite close because we have had no time to get home because of all the games, and we need to get a lot of rest," the former Middlesbrough player said.

"It's not the worst job in the world - we are all playing football. It's hard being away from your family but you just have to look forward to the next game and you are never too far away."

Jones has seen his flat-mate, on-loan Middlesbrough defender Jonathan Burn, return to his parent club for treatment on a thigh injury, but has plenty of company.

"I was sharing an apartment with Johnny but he has gone back to Boro and left me by myself, so I'm not really his friend no more," he joked. "But half of the lads are living in apartments nearby and half near the stadium so we are always dead close to each other. If anyone is watching a game at night then everyone chills out together."

Jones has been a regular in recent weeks after improving his work-rate off the ball under the demands of manager Lee Clark.

"At the start I was in and out of the team but I have been in now for about 10 games so I'm really enjoying playing every week," he said. "It's a lot easier to settle when you are playing all the time because your focus is on the next game. If you are not in the team then it's harder to settle."

St Johnstone defender Richard Foster would usually be happy to allow an opponent to pull the trigger from 40 yards.

But he admits he will not be able to take the same chance when he takes on Kilmarnock starlet Souleymane Coulibaly.

Foster has been left awe-struck by the Ivorian youngster and his haul of incredible strikes for the Rugby Park side.

The former Tottenham striker has blasted 11 goals for his new side, with a long-range stunner against Celtic and an audacious overhead kick away to Dundee the pick of a sparkling bunch.

But the Saints full-back claims it is the 22-year-old's ability to lull defences into a false sense of security which will make him such a threat to Tommy Wright's team when they head to Ayrshire.

"He's done really well and some of the goals he's scored are just incredible," said Foster.

"His goal against Celtic at Parkhead was a stunner but for me as a defender, I'm letting him shoot from there all day. You'd be thinking, 'What are you doing that far out mate?'

"But he is on a rich vein of form. He is a player you have to keep your eye on.

"He plays wide but drifts into good areas. He's very athletic so he's a tough guy to play against.

"The unpredictability he has is a key weapon. Even look at the overhead kick he scored. As a defender when the ball comes into the box and it's 10 feet in the air, you think 'there's no danger here'. The next thing you know, though, it's in your net.

"So he has an attribute that is very difficult to defend against - unless you want to get kicked in the face. He can do the unthinkable at times, so it makes him a lot more dangerous.

"He might not be involved in the game a lot but that's a mark of a good player that when he does get on the ball, he makes something happen."


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