"Make fouls, slow it down"; Kilmarnock midfielder outlines crude plan to stop Celtic

By Dave Flanigan

August 13, 2022

Kilmarnock star Rory McKenzie had outlined the Ayrshire club’s plan to stifle Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic side when the champions travel to Rugby Park tomorrow.

It’s the first meeting of the sides since Postecoglou became manager at Parkhead, and McKenzie, who has experience of beating Celtic previously, believes that trying to outplay the Aussie’s free-flowing side will only end one way.

As reported by The Herald, he said: “If we go toe-to-toe with Celtic there will only be one winner. We will be set up to stop them playing, make fouls, slow it down then try to play when we get the ball. We don’t want it to be a free-flowing spectacle.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

“There’s nothing wrong with that. We got results under Steve Clarke and never played out from the back. It was about being hard to play against and making it tough for them.

“They have good players and if you give them time it will be an easy afternoon for them. I watched some of Celtic’s games last season and you can see how well they handle the ball and how well they move. We need to get against them to stop them.”

Familiar issues for Celtic to overcome

Whilst this is the first meeting of Celtic with Kilmarnock since February 2021 – a game which also marked Scott Brown’s final goal for the club – the potential issues facing the champions tomorrow in Ayrshire are hardly unfamiliar ones.

Derek McInnes’s Aberdeen sides routinely set out to disrupt Celtic teams over the years, and it would be unwise to anticipate a different approach for last season’s Scottish Championship winners.

Kilmarnock held out for for around 50 minutes at Ibrox last week, and will no doubt look to keep the score level for as long as possible tomorrow to frustrate Postecoglou’s side.

Celtic tend to find the going tougher on plastic pitches, and the surface will be a leveller that the the champions will have to overcome first and foremost, something that Matt O’Riley acknowledged yesterday.

Postecoglou’s side finally broke the club’s hoodoo on another artificial surface at Livingston’s Toni Macaroni stadium in last season’s title run-in, and a similarly convincing victory tomorrow would put to bed any lingering doubts about the champions aptitude for dealing with plastic pitches.

In other news: More travel issues for Celtic supporters this weekend.