By Marc Birch
Angelo Alessio’s Kilmarnock travel to Celtic Park for the first time this season. After a difficult start to the season for the Italian, his side now boast an impressive two wins in a row and head to the home of the champions in the top six.
The champions as expected hold a perfect record in the league. With a win over rivals Rangers in the books, Celtic are in free-scoring form. But Kilmarnock’s first trip to Celtic Park last season saw them sitting above Celtic in December. So what’s changed since?
Steve Clarke’s Kilmarnock team were flying headed into last seasons fixture. With Killie having only conceded 12 goals in 16 games at the time optimism was high for what could be achieved at Celtic Park. The game, however, didn’t pan out as the Kilmarnock faithful would have hoped, conceding 4 in the first half. Could it be the same result ahead for Killie this time round?
Kilmarnock fans remember last years winter fixture fondly. Life long Kilmarnock season ticket holder and Kilmarnock FC Community Officer Grant Moore attended last years fixture. He said; ” As a fan last year going top of the league it was pretty surreal going to Celtic Park. We had a fantastic season up till then and I think that made Celtic respect us more.”
Now the Kilmarnock faithful will head to Celtic Park to back a new face in the dugout as Angelo Alessio experiences his first trip to Celtic Park at the weekend. So for a fan like Grant who travels home and away, how does it feel under the new dawn of Alessio, he said; “Quite a few things have changed under Angelo. We definitely have a better defensive unit. Four clean sheets on the bounce, you really can’t go wrong. My heart says wee 1-0 (Kilmarnock) but I think Celtic will just shave a 2-1 win.”
It is clear that the Kilmarnock fans have begun to trust in the new regime that is set in place under new manager Angelo Alessio. The Ayrshire sides new boss has plenty of pedigree on his CV, but it is games against Scotlands best like this weekends fixture that will test his credentials.
Speaking to the Press Association he said; “”After St Johnstone, I saw in training another attitude. All the players are confident. And I saw the same in the last game against Hibernian. I think now it’s important for us to understand our dimension, our style of football and I think at the moment it’s good in this way.”
Angelo’s managerial ability was questioned heavily after the loss to Connah’s Quay in the Europa League and by his former player Kirk Broadfoot but the Kilmarnock manager remains confident, he said; “I have had a period to understand the players and try the best solutions for the type of players I have. I think every manager takes time to understand the situation and work out the best solution.”
It remains to be seen if Kilmarnock can reverse their luck at the home of the Scottish treble winners, the match takes place on Sunday at 1pm.
Full Fan Interview: