Kilmarnock boss Tommy Wright quickly turns attention to Dundee play-off

Kilmarnock boss Tommy Wright ready for Dundee (PA Wire)
15:28pm, Sun 16 May 2021
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Tommy Wright revealed Kilmarnock quickly shrugged off the disappointment of finding themselves in the play-off final to focus on opponents Dundee.

Killie will face the Taysiders for the right to play in the Premiership next season despite a 2-0 win at Hamilton which officially relegated Accies.

A first-half double from Mitch Pinnock scored a first-half double then passed up on the chance of a hat-trick when debutant Hamilton goalkeeper Jamie Smith saved his second-half penalty.

Ross County needed a point at Motherwell to ensure safety and at half-time they were losing 1-0 which meant Killie were safe as it stood.

However, the Staggies fought back for a 2-1 win so 11th-placed Kilmarnock will travel to Dens Park on Thursday for the play-off first leg before the return game at Rugby Park the following Monday.

Boss Wright said: “The players were a little bit disappointed in the dressing room but five or 10 minutes after that they were already focusing on what we have to do against Dundee.

“I am pleased that we are going into the game in the run of form we are in.

“I think it is one defeat in nine or 10 games over 90 minutes and they look as if they are a real goal threat.

“I think it is also 26 goals over 10 games and it should have been more today so over two legs, we go in with confidence based on the performances I’ve had recently.”

Dundee lost 1-0 at home to Raith Rovers in the second leg of the play-off semi-final on Saturday but made the final with a 3-1 aggregate win.

Wright said: “I watched them last night and I watched them against Dunfermline earlier on in the season and we have scouting reports on them as well.

“It is one of those files on your computer that you didn’t want to open but we will get into it tomorrow and prepare well.

“So we know the task ahead of us but I am sure they will be looking at us as well and thinking we are a decent side as well so it is all set up for big finale.”

Accies’ relegation was confirmed after the nine-goal win they needed to leapfrog the Rugby Park side unsurprisingly failed to materialise.

After seven years in the top flight, boss Brian Rice will reset in the summer and go again.

He admitted confirmation of the drop was a “horrible day” for Hamilton, who started with seven academy graduates.

“I am devastated and I know the supporters will be as well,” said Rice, who believes keeper Smith will remember his penalty save for “the rest of his life”.

Rice added: “I take it on the chin, I carry the can, I understand that.

“It is disappointing for everybody connected to the club, every player, coach, owners, supporters.

“But we have to use that as a tool to remember to spur us on and that is what we will do.

“There is no time for looking back, or regrets or excuses, so we need to start looking forward.

“I will go away with the positives, seeing so many of the young players’ performances today.

“I thought some of them were outstanding. I was proud of them. I’m just disappointed we lost the match.”

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