Kilmarnock manager discusses Celtic and being 'perfect' as League Cup semi-final could be platform for 'personality' player
However, neither is the 51-year-old willing to question the possibility of a wild outcome on an occasion that could be suited to his wild card. The availability of unpredictable striker Kyle Lafferty following his 10-game ban for a sectarian slur presents the Ayrshire club’s manager with a dilemma. He knows that the 35-year-old’s career has been embroidered by derring-do displays in high-profile encounters. He knows too, though, that Lafferty’s last competitive outing came way back on October 18, the Northern Irishman netting a penalty in the 2-1 victory over Dundee United that banked a quarter-final slot in the competition.
“We’re going to have to perform almost pitch perfect, if not perfect, to overcome this Celtic team,” McInnes said of a Hampden date that marks his club’s first semi-final since they lifted the League Cup in 2012. “We have a chance, some people won’t give us even that, but we feel we have a chance. That’s what we’re looking forward to.
“Kyle [having proven to be a man for the big occasion] is worth considering as a manager – the bigger the game, the bigger the performance. We’ve seen it before, sometimes the bigger the game, certain players will go under and you don’t get a performance. We are aware of that, and Kyle was pivotal in getting us promoted last season. He brings personality, which is really important in the bigger games and against better opposition.
“The hunger has always been there. I spoke to plenty of people before we signed Kyle. They all gave us the heads up that it can be eventful on a Monday to Friday and a bit lively, and that has been the case. He’s a great boy, but on a Saturday, there is a switch and a real competitive side to him. Some players go through their careers without getting the opportunity, so for Kyle, I’m sure he’ll be appreciative he is back playing and available. The thing about whether he is ready or not is really match decisions and match fitness. The club has been good to him and it is important now he knuckles down, tries and helps the team with our objectives.”
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