McInnes 'proud' to reach 700 games in management ahead of Hearts clash

The Kilmarnock boss will take charge of his 700th game when the Rugby Park side host Hearts on Saturday.

Derek McInnes says he is “proud” to reach 700 games in management ahead of the landmark clash with Hearts on Saturday.

But while the Kilmarnock boss, who has also managed Aberdeen, St Johnstone and Bristol City during a 16-year career in the dugout, isn’t sure he will last another 700 games, he is hungrier than ever to be successful.

The former Rangers, Dundee United and West Bromwich Albion midfielder, who also won two international caps for Scotland, started off in management at McDiarmid Park in 2007.

McInnes took St Johnstone back to the top flight after seven years in the championship before leaving Perth after four years to join Bristol City in the English Championship.

He returned to Scotland to take the Aberdeen job in 2013 and spent eight years at Pittodrie where he won the League Cup and reached four finals.

He also managed the Dons to back-to-back second place finishes in the Premiership before leaving the club by mutual consent in 2021 and taking up his current role at Killie a year later.

In his first two seasons at Rugby Park he led the club back to the Premiership before consolidating their position in the league with an 11th placed finish.

After 14 league games this season they are sitting at sixth place with four wins and five draws.

Ahead of this weekend’s game against Hearts at Rugby Park he said: “I’ll definitely not be doing another 700, but I am quite pleased and proud of that, to have longevity, I think it’s important for any manager, whether you are just starting out or if it’s your 700th game, that you still really want to do it and the fires are lit.

“I still really want to do this job, I’ve got so much more to do and the fact we’ve got to 700 games and I still feel relatively young and feel there is a lot more to give.

“There’s been some up and downs in that time, the landscape has changed now for managers, but here’s to many more.”

When asked the secret to that kind of longevity in a role that can be infamously short lived, he said: “Really wanting to do it, working with good people and having the support of key people within the clubs.

“I think the majority of times that managers are successful it’s because the people above them and having that connection with them. Working with enthusiasm and aiming to improve is important for any manager because some days it can be challenging.”

Meanwhile teenager David Watson has signed a contract extension which will keep him at Kilmarnock until June 2026.

The 18-year-old midfielder joined Killie’s youth set-up more than a decade ago before progressing through the ranks to captain both the under-18 and reserve teams last season.

He made his first-team league debut in March.

He has since established himself as a key player this season, making 19 appearances and becoming a Scotland Under-19 international along the way.

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