McInnes demands ‘personality and life’ from Killie in Celtic semi-final

The winners will face either Rangers or Aberdeen in the final.

Derek McInnes demands ‘personality and life’ from Killie in Celtic semi showdown SNS Group

Derek McInnes highlighted the qualities his Kilmarnock players will need to demonstrate if they are to shock Celtic in their League Cup semi-final on Saturday.

The in-form cup holders ran out comfortable 2-0 winners when Killie visited Parkhead in the Premiership last weekend and are huge favourites to get past the Rugby Park side at Hampden.

The winners will face either Rangers or Aberdeen, who play their semi-final at the national stadium on Sunday, and boss McInnes identified what his side have to do to cause a shock.

He said: “Players don’t live on the moon, they know how good Celtic are.

“They watch them, they see how strong the individuals are, and it is wrong for me to over-elaborate all these points.

“We always look at the opponent but it is my job and the staff’s job to get the players prepared properly for every game.

“And when it is a team like Celtic who are such a strong opponent, we still have to do the right things for us.

“We have to make sure the players are right physically and make them right tactically which is a big part of it when you play a stronger opponent but the mental part of it is probably the biggest part of it.

“I need to see personality, I need to see life about us, I need to see confidence and I want people who are going to impress.

“Sometimes it is more than just ability you need to overcome an opponent like Celtic, it is not just the playing side of it, it is everything else and I will be looking for that this weekend.”

Killie’s last major trophy win was in 2012 when they beat Celtic 1-0 in the League Cup final at Hampden Park, thanks to a goal from Belgian substitute Dieter Van Tornhout.

Midfielder Rory McKenzie was coming through the ranks at Kilmarnock at the time and had a terrific view of the famous winner which resulted in one of the great cup final upsets.

He recalled: “I remember being at the game. There were a bunch of youth-team lads there and we were sat in the corner where Lee Johnson put the cross in so they came and celebrated and we were right down the front.

“That was a fantastic day. Nobody gave us a chance and it’s a day I remember. I wasn’t part of the celebrations after but by all accounts it was a good night.”

McKenzie admits that, once again, things will have to go Killie’s way against Celtic if they are to emerge victorious.

He said: “I think you need to cling on to a lot of things. We know the task in hand. We’ve watched enough of Celtic to know how good they are, we played against them on Saturday so we’re well aware.

“You need Celtic to have an off day. They’re that good a team that you need everything to go your way.”

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