Kyle Lafferty: Northern Ireland striker becomes Tommy Wright's first signing at Kilmarnock

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland
Kyle Lafferty has earned 79 Northern Ireland caps
The Northern Ireland striker's career includes two spells at Rangers and a stint at Hearts

Tommy Wright has challenged Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty to fire Kilmarnock to Scottish Premiership survival and earn a longer deal.

The former Rangers and Hearts forward has joined the Scottish Premiership club until the end of the season as new manager Wright's first signing.

Lafferty, 33, was a free agent after leaving Italian Serie B outfit Reggina four weeks ago.

"I think it will be good for both of us," said Wright.

"That [avoiding relegation] is the reason we've brought him in. We have lacked goals.

"I think I can help him and he will be a big help to us. He is experienced, knows the league and the fact he is 33 on a short-term contract, he will be playing for his future and that's important. He will be really focused on that as well."

Much-travelled Lafferty, who has 79 caps and 20 goals for Northern Ireland, returns to Scottish football to work with compatriot Wright after a deal to join Romanian club Sepsi fell through this week.

Subject to international clearance, he is set to make his debut against his former club and runaway league leaders Rangers at Ibrox on Saturday.

"I'm delighted with the move," said Lafferty. "Rugby Park is just around the corner from my home and that's important for my family.

"We have 10 games and the cup so it will be good to be back playing and hopefully push the team back up the league."

Wright's first match in charge on Wednesday night saw Kilmarnock suffer a sixth successive defeat as they lost 1-0 at home to Motherwell.

The Ayrshire side are just four points above bottom club Hamilton Academical, who have played two games fewer.

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