McInnes challenges Kilmarnock to pull off upsets in survival scrap

The Killie boss thinks 'significant wins' will be needed to stay up.

Derek McInnes challenges Kilmarnock to pull off upsets in survival scrap SNS Group

Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes has challenged his team to pull off a “big result” that can breathe fresh life into their survival battle.

McInnes and assistant Tony Docherty guided Bristol City to an unlikely escape in the English Championship 11 years ago with the help of victories over the likes of Southampton, Leicester and Nottingham Forest.

Killie sit a point above the cinch Premiership danger zone after going five league games without a win.

And they have plenty of opportunity to pull off some surprise results in the coming weeks given their pre-split schedule, which continues against third-placed Hearts at Rugby Park on Saturday.

McInnes said: “I have only ever been involved in one relegation fight and that was when I took the job on at Bristol City.

“We took the job on when we were 10 points behind second-bottom, in November I think it was, and we hadn’t won a game at home all season.

“In hindsight I don’t know why I took it, but it was a real opportunity and we managed to stay up.

“That was the only time I can remember being involved in that side of it, and we stayed up with a bit to spare in the end.

“We picked up a couple of significant results, big results, and I think that’s probably going to be required.

“We have Hearts, Celtic, Aberdeen, all top-six teams, St Mirren, coming up before the split. So we have to make sure we show our capabilities to win big games.

“We won a few games in the run-in that probably nobody expected us to win with where we were in the league.

“But we tried to be consistent with the message, tried to be clear, tried to trust how we work Monday-Friday, be really positive with our players, and never lose sight that we are good enough to stay in the league.”

The former Aberdeen and St Johnstone manager, who will again be without Liam Polworth on Saturday, added: “That’s where we are at, we are preparing for next season, we are preparing as a Premiership club, and we are not wanting to put out there that we will be anything but.

“We are just working hard to make sure we get the points required.

“We are up for the fight, we know we are in a fight, I believed we would be in a fight.

“We are in a position now where we have got it all to do and hopefully we can get that done.”

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