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‘Big summer ahead’ for Derek McInnes at Kilmarnock after promotion

Derek McInnes led Kilmarnock to the Championship title (PA)
Derek McInnes led Kilmarnock to the Championship title (PA)

Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes is eyeing a period of stability for the club after clinching promotion at the first time of asking.

Killie sealed the cinch Championship trophy on Friday night with a 2-1 win over nearest challengers Arbroath with Blair Alston’s last-minute winner ensuring the title race did not go down to the last game.

Killie were fifth when former Aberdeen manager McInnes took over in January but a seventh consecutive home win saw them over the line in front of 11,500 fans and three sold-out home stands at Rugby Park.

McInnes said: “We’ve got a big summer ahead but these things can wait. I’m delighted for the chairman Billy (Bowie), Phyllis (McLeish) and Cathy (Jamieson).

“I felt a good connection as soon as I spoke to them and there’s a lot of good people at this club.

“I’m now the fourth manager since Steve (Clarke) left (in 2019) and that brings its complications.

“The club needs a bit of stability and we will make sure that we are the best version of our club going into next season in the Premiership.”

McInnes vowed to soak up the title success before focusing on those rebuilding plans and arranged a gathering with his players on Sunday to “celebrate properly”.

“It is important to celebrate these days as football is tough at times – injuries, relegations, and players worrying about contracts,” he said.

“So when the good times come, you’ve got to enjoy them.

“It’s something that I have been guilty of, not celebrating the success I’ve had as much as I should, but I’ll certainly enjoy this one.”