Derek McInnes believes having a fit and firing front two will be key to Kilmarnock’s fortunes this season.
Kyle Vassell scored twice in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Livingston to double his tally for the season, while strike partner Marley Watkins is on three despite a period out injured.
Vassell, in particular, proved too strong for a Livi back line missing the injured Ayo Obileye, and McInnes wants to see more performances like that from his forwards.
The Kilmarnock boss said: “Every manager wants their strikers to score goals and Kyle is up to four now. It’s important to have the front line scoring goals.
“He is so important to us – as he was at the back end of last season. It will be key to keep him and the likes of Watkins fit.
“Our response to Livingston equalising was almost immediate with a great header from Vass and it got us in at half-time with something to hang on to.
“The third goal, there was so much to enjoy about it. It was a brilliant bit of play, we hit the bar, young Davie Watson keeps it alive and the cross is brilliant. And Vass is back up on his feet and scores a great header.”
Livingston boss David Martindale was also effusive in his praise of Vassell, comparing him to a one-time Lions striker now turning out regularly for Scotland.
He said: “I thought Vassell was really good for Kilmarnock.
“There were flashes of big Lyndon Dykes when he played for us. He was winning aerial duels, he was roughing up centre-halves and linking play.
“I don’t think we did any of that ourselves until we put Joel Nouble up top with Kurtis Guthrie. Kurtis got a couple of flicks and Joel got a couple of runs into their box.
“Their forward line managed the game better than us.”
Martindale hopes Obileye and Mo Sangare – who went off during the second half at Rugby Park – would not be out for too long.
He added: “I think Ayo will be okay.
“It was touch and go on Friday but we missed him today. Big Luiyi de Lucas wasn’t going to start the game, he’d been away on international duty and played 180 minutes.
“With the amount of travelling he wasn’t back in the building until Friday morning. We missed Ayo against a side who ask a lot of questions of your back line.
“Mo had an injury, I think it’s his calf. He was also away on international duty but only played 90 minutes.”
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