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Wright: Kilmarnock players didn’t turn up in relegation battle

The manager says his relegated team deserved their defeats to Dundee.

Wright: Kilmarnock players didn’t turn up in relegation battle SNS Group

Kilmarnock manager Tommy Wright has said that his side shocked him with their performance as they lost to Dundee in the play-off and were relegated to the Championship.

The Rugby Park side were looking to bounce back from a 2-1 first-leg defeat to keep their place in the top flight but were rocked by two early goals and a penalty from Kyle Lafferty couldn’t spark a comeback.

Wright bemoaned a lack of responsibility from his players and said that they hadn’t turned up when they needed to show their qualities.

“Dundee were stronger and didn’t have to do a lot to win the game,” he said. “In fact, they didn’t have to do a lot to win both games.

“We’ve gifted them three out of four goals, two up at Dens and the first one tonight is absolutely embarrassing from our point of view. No responsibility, nobody takes command of a situation.

“We didn’t do enough. There’s too many players haven’t turned up. Not only in the two play-off games, they haven’t turned up all season. If you count tonight as two league games then that’s 24 defeats in 40 games. That says a lot about the squad.

“The first day I was in here, I told them ‘If you do the basics well, defend well and take responsibility then you can stay in the league’. They haven’t done that. They haven’t done it all season.

“It surprised me on Thursday but it shocked me tonight. I didn’t think we could be that bad again but we were. And we deserved it.

“I’ll take responsibility for the time I’ve been here, and I do think I’ve done okay to a point, but you cannot win games when you make the individual errors that we do, and we’ve done it for far too long.”

Wright arrived at the club in February and is under contract until 2023. He doesn’t feel his future is under threat despite the failure to stay in the Premiership and is now looking at rebuilding the squad for a promotion challenge next season.

“I know I’ll get the support of the board,” he said. “It’s not my future I think needs discussed tonight.

“I’m more concerned about the people who work in the background of this club and the people in the town. That’s my concern. My future will be sorted.

“There’s a rebuild job. I think there’s only four or five signed players now. One or two may have been getting contracts even if we went down but I might have to revisit that.”

He added: “I just feel sorry for the the fans.

“I’ve let them down and ultimately the players have let themselves and let the club down.

“But I’ll take my responsibility myself as well. I’m not ducking anything.

“I thought I could get us out of it but unfortunately I didn’t.”

Dundee boss James McPake admitted he was over the moon at guiding the club to the top flight.

“It means so much to everyone at the club,” he said.

“I don’t think it will sink in but as a young manager it means the world.

“It is the proudest moment of my career because I have had many sore ones.

“I have failed but I will always dream.

“At the start of the season it was my dream to take this club back into the Premiership and now it is real.

“It is all about the players and to a man they have been unbelievable.”