Trip to the seaside key to Killie's play-off success, reveals boss Clark

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Football News

Kilmarnock manager Lee Clark felt a walk along the beach was the ideal preparation for his side's emphatic play-off triumph - but he had to disguise his fears over the future of Rugby Park colleagues.

Clark adopted a low-key approach to their second leg against Falkirk, despite a 1-0 defeat on Thursday, and he was rewarded with a 4-0 victory.

Goals from Greg Kiltie and Miles Addison turned the game on its head inside eight minutes and both Kiltie and Kris Boyd netted breakaway strikes just after the hour mark as Killie maintained their Ladbrokes Premiership status.

Clark said: "I'm proud of the players for delivering a performance like that under pressure. We have been the better team in both legs, no doubt about it. It was a tough pill to swallow on Thursday. We would have been disappointed with 0-0, but when we got hit with the sucker punch it was tough to take.

"But we just relaxed them in the last two days. We knew the performance had been good enough so we needed the same again.

"We went for a walk along the beach at Troon towards the golf club on Saturday and had some bacon and egg rolls. We didn't train, we took them in the minibuses to Troon and thankfully the weather was nice."

However, Clark admitted he still feared the consequences of failure.

"It was a huge result because I don't know what the implications would have been on the football side," he said.

"I know my own position was fine because I've started my recruitment already and I knew what I was doing with the squad before the two legs.

"But usually when clubs get relegated good people behind the scenes are the first to lose their positions. I take that personally as a manager because I don't want to see good people leave like that. So that's a big weight off my shoulders, the last few days have been tough.

Despite the resounding win, Clark - who revealed Josh Magennis had gone off with fatigue and not a recurrence of his hamstring strain - has promised a big overhaul in the summer.

"And that's not being disrespectful to the lads who produced fantastic for me," he said." But you've got to be ruthless. I know where I want to go and we are making inroads on players as we speak."

The defeat was only Falkirk's fifth in their 40-game promotion charge and manager Peter Houston refused to criticise his players.

Houston said: "I feel really sad we didn't put in a performance the fans deserved.

"But over the course of the season they have seen plenty of performances that made them happy.

"Last year we got to the cup final, this year it's the play-off final, which I think it's a stride forward.

"We found out that we have to get better. Do we need to be more physical, have more pace? There's a few things we've learned."

The vast majority of the 4,000 visiting fans hailed their team for a lengthy spell after the end.

"Normally when the third goal goes in the fans leave, but not many left," he said. "That tells you everything.

"They know the players have given them everything this season and stayed to give them a cheer.

"I respect that. We've certainly given them more highs than lows this season."

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