Derek McInnes has revealed that he is changing Kilmarnock’s training base this week in an attempt to improve his team’s form away from home.
The Ayrshire club boosted their chances of avoiding relegation by beating Hearts at Rugby Park on Saturday, picking up their seventh home win of the league campaign. However, Kilmarnock’s form away from home has been a major factor in their struggles this season, with only two points earned from 15 games on the road.
McInnes feels the difference is possibly down to the adjustment from the artificial surface at Rugby Park to the grass pitches at other Premiership grounds. Ahead of next weekend’s trip to Pittodrie to play Aberdeen, he is training the players on grass parks in Largs in the hope that can lift their game.
“We are training Tuesday and Wednesday on grass just to get that adaptation,” the Kilmarnock boss explained.
“We’ve trained on grass previously, but unfortunately we have to go out of Kilmarnock to find a decent grass pitch, so we’ll go down to Largs this week. Hopefully it will help us.
“We’ve tried it before and it’s not worked and we beat Hearts at Tynecastle in the League Cup without training on grass so it kind of throws that theory on its head.
“But it’s been too often now that we feel the games the players play away from home is the first time they’ve played on grass for weeks, so we’ll try it this week and if we manage to get a positive result, we’ll be doing it more often.”
The experienced manager also shared his thoughts on abuse directed at Robbie Neilson after Kilmarnock’s victory over Hearts. Supporters of the Tynecastle club have vented their anger at recent form and the plaza outside Hearts’ ground was vandalised on Sunday, with a message reading “F*** off Neilson” spray painted on the ground.
McInnes feels Neilson has done a good enough job with the team to enjoy support and not face any backlash for a dip in form.
“Nothing really surprises me,” he said. “Robbie’s in charge of a good team there and they’re sitting third in the league.
“I think on the evidence of the last couple of seasons, he’s deserving of better than that. Pressure comes to all of us and Robbie will be well aware of that, but at the start of the season, for Hearts to be sitting where they are now, I’m sure everyone would have taken that.
“A lot of the time when you’ve been at a club for a period of time, you’re judged by the standards you set yourself rather than when you initially go in and you’re judged against the standards of the previous manager.
“If you do well, you get judged against your own (previous) performances, and sometimes people are always looking for something different. Robbie’s done a very good job there and I’m sure he’ll continue to do that.”
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