Killie would be 'disappointed' to miss Europe after securing top six spot

Kilmarnock host relegation threatened Ross County on Saturday as they look to take another step towards European football.

Derek McInnes has admitted he will have a “tinge of disappointment” if Kilmarnock fail to qualify for Europe now that they have secured a top-six finish.

The Rugby Park side have guaranteed a top half finish with two games to go until the split after drawing with Hearts at Tynecastle at the weekend.

That alone can be seen as an achievement in itself for McInnes, who took over when the club was in the Championship just over two years ago, but he insists they are now hungry for more.

A fourth place finish would be enough to book their place in Conference League qualifiers next season, with fifth place also potentially taking them a step towards European football if one of the top two win the Scottish Cup.

Killie currently sit in fourth, but only two points behind fifth placed St Mirren and six ahead of Dundee who also have a game in hand, albeit against treble-chasing Rangers.

And with a home tie against relegation threatened Ross County on Saturday, the Ayrshire club are not ready to rest on their laurels just yet as they look to get another three points on the board.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, McInnes said: “We are really pleased, there’s a good energy about the club at the minute even if it wasn’t secured at the weekend. We knew other results would maybe help us with that but at the same token we spoke before the game at Tynecastle that there’s nothing better than dealing with your own business and getting the job done.

“We knew a point would have secured that top six and that’s exactly the way it was.

“It’s good to secure top six two games before the split, it’s a brilliant achievement from the players but as the week starts to go on we have another game to prepare for and we’re looking for more now and looking for what’s next.

“Thankfully now we have an opportunity where we can, if we play as we have been doing, get the club into Europe.

“If we don’t make Europe now then there will be a wee tinge of disappointment, there shouldn’t be, but by the same token it’s there. Fourth spot is the only spot that will definitely get us into Europe, fifth might be another option but we will try all we can to secure fourth.

“To do that we know we are going to have to do a lot of good work between now and the end of the season. We’re going to have to win more games of football and Saturday gives another chance to do that.”

Following the Ross County game Kilmarnock will face another side at the wrong end of the table when they travel to St Johnstone in the last game before the split.

Six points from those two games will go a long way to seeing Kilmarnock return to Europe for only the second time in over 20 years and the first time since their shock defeat to Welsh side Connah’s Quay in 2019.

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