Michael Nelson thanks Paul Lambert for Kilmarnock move

By John BarnesBBC Scotland
Kilmarnock defender Michael Nelson
Nelson made his debut in the Scottish League Cup semi-final against Ayr at Hampden

Michael Nelson says the recommendation of former boss Paul Lambert helped pave the way for his move to Kilmarnock.

The former Scunthorpe defender made his debut last week as the Rugby Park side progressed to the final of the Scottish Communities League Cup.

Lambert was Nelson's manager at Norwich City and after speaking to the former Celtic skipper he had no doubts about making the move north.

Nelson said: "It's nice if you can get a reference off a previous manager."

And the 31-year-old added: "But when it it comes from a manager of his calibre I think means a little bit more."

Nelson made sure he was making the right decision on his future before penning a deal with the Rugby Park club.

"I spoke to a few people who played up here," he said.

"There were one or two clubs interested but Kilmarnock was the one that jumped out at me."

Nelson is grateful to Lambert for his role in the move and full of praise for the former Scotland international.

He said: "He was brilliant when he first came in at Norwich. Once you got in the side you knew what to expect.

"Once I left the club he said if I ever needed anything just to pick up the phone. I spoke to him when I had a difficult time at Scunthorpe and got some advice off him.

"I tried to get him to put words in for me at places and I think he actually spoke to the manager here at Kilmarnock prior to me moving up here."

It is not everybody who make their club debut at Hampden in a showpiece semi-final, against Ayr United, but the Englishman feels honoured to have done it.

"I got a little bit of stick off the boys saying it wasn't a bad place to make your debut," he continued.

"I got told by everyone in Kilmarnock at the hotel where I was staying that I had to make sure that when I returned to the hotel after the game that we'd won.

"I got told how important it was and luckily enough we managed to get the win."

Nelson enjoyed his first taste of playing in a central defensive partnership with Killie captain Manuel Pascali against Ayr.

He said of the Italian: "He talks well. He's very vocal and I think you see the influence he has on the pitch - the mannerisms and the character of him - and the way he drives people on that sort of influences everyone else."

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