Derek McInnes expecting much less pre-season stress this year

The Kilmarnock boss has continuity in his squad as he looks ahead.

Kilmarnock boss Derek McInnes expecting much less pre-season stress this year SNS Group

Derek McInnes is relishing a slightly less stressful summer than last year as he has the core of his burgeoning Kilmarnock side already tied up for next term.

The Rugby Park side finished nine points clear in fourth place in the cinch Premiership and will play in a Europa League qualifier in July.

McInnes, whose side finished 10th a year ago before a squad overhaul, is looking forward to a calmer summer of recruitment this time as he bids to ensure they can match the standards they have set over the past campaign.

“The majority of the team is signed up for next year,” he said. “There are a few loans we’d still like to tie down if possible.

“Last year, when I was on holiday a week before I came back for pre-season, I had one defender and no goalkeepers, and it was such a stressful turnover for us. We had so much to do.

“We signed 14 players in the summer and let a lot go to try and change the dynamic of the team and this summer I’m still going to go and enjoy my break but it’ll be nowhere near as stressful. It’s important we do try and switch off.

“The reward from this season comes with the European game, which is our next proper game and we’ll look forward to that. I’ve probably got three or four bits and pieces to do and hopefully we can be pretty specific in trying to improve. The demand will change next season, so I’ll enjoy it just now because I know I’ll not get to enjoy it for too long!”

Killie ended their campaign with a 1-1 draw away to sixth-placed Dundee after Gary Mackay-Steven’s opener was cancelled out by Luke McCowan, who went on to miss a late penalty shortly after visiting defender Robbie Deas had been sent off.

Despite his aberration with the spot-kick, Dark Blues boss Docherty was delighted to see captain McCowan make it 10 goals for the season from midfield.

“I’m gutted we don’t score the penalty, which was very unlike Luke,” said Docherty.

“But 10 goals is a great return and I thought the goal was fantastic. It is what we asked for – forward runs and forward passes.

“He’s been fantastic.”

Asked if he expected interest in McCowan and Lyall Cameron, both of whom have a year left on their contracts, Docherty said: “That’s part of football. When you’re doing well, you attract suitors.

“It is a good indication, similar to when players get international recognition whether full or under-21.

“I’d like to credit the whole group. Luke and Lyall have had good seasons because their team-mates have allowed them to have good seasons.”

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