Jefferies thrilled by Killie safety
Kilmarnock manager Jim Jefferies could not hide his delight after a solitary goal by Kevin Kyle against Inverness Caledonian Thistle confirmed the club's Clydesdale Bank Premier League status for another season. Kyle scored with ten minutes left to delight the home supporters in the 6,096 crowd at Rugby Park, although the visitors will feel unlucky not to have collected at least a point.
Jefferies could hardly contain his joy at the score which helped his side to safety and said: "It wasn't a great game, but it was a great result for us. This was always going to be a tough match."
The long-serving Killie manager underlined that it had been a tough season for so many clubs in the league, saying: "It's not often that five teams are involved in a relegation battle at this stage in the season. There has been no bad team in the league."
Killie were outplayed for long periods of the match and only after Inverness had dominated the home side did they get the break that won the game. It came as no surprise that Kyle was again the hero, getting on the end of Gary Hay's cross to score from close range.
Jefferies heaped praise on the striker, who has been touted for a return to the international set-up. Jefferies said: "He has come good at the right time. And I think he can be even better next season."
Kyle was the thorn in the side of Inverness, and despite the Inverness defence marking him tightly for most of the game, they allowed him one chance and he took it. Jefferies can now relax going into the final game of the season, but he can take some satisfaction at how his squad have taken seven points from a possible nine in the past three games.
"Hamilton is the only team that can catch us, but the goal difference is massive so it looks like we have secured eighth place, which brings some extra cash to the club," said Jefferies. "I heard lots of people suggesting we were going to go down, but we came good at the right time and proved them wrong."
The result was a sore one for the Highlanders, who had come to Rugby Park in search of three points. However Inverness manager Terry Butcher was in no mood for discussing what could have been. He said: "We would have taken this situation in January so we just have to get on with it. There is no point in thinking 'it could have been this or it could have been that' we know what we have to do next week."
Inverness now find themselves second bottom of the league with one game to go and all they have to do is avoid defeat against Falkirk to beat the drop.
"They have beaten us twice recently but having said that my players have shown magnificent character this week and now we just have to get on with it. We have to look forward. ," said Butcher. "The fixture list has been unkind to us this week, but we are looking forward to the last game, but the boys are hurting today."