Kilmarnock: Avoiding relegation would 'rank with anything I've done' - Tommy Wright

By Andy BurkeBBC Scotland
Kilmarnock manager Tommy Wright (right)
Kilmarnock are in the play-off despite Tommy Wright (right) leading his side to victory away to Hamilton Academical on the final day

Tommy Wright says keeping Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premiership "would rank as high as anything" he has achieved previously as a manager.

St Johnstone lifted the Scottish Cup for the first time under Wright in 2014 and had regular top-six finishes.

But Kilmarnock must win a two-leg final against Dundee to extend their 28-year stay in the top flight.

"It will rank highly because of the situation when we came into and all the losses they had before," Wright says.

The 57-year-old Northern Irishman took charge in February at a time when five defeats in a row had Kilmarnock sitting third bottom of the table.

Three more narrow defeats followed before Wright started to turn their results around and they finished second bottom despite a run of only two defeats in their final eight games.

"It's a different set of circumstances that I've had to come into," he says ahead of Thursday's first leg at Dens Park. "Usually, I'm in the top six. but we've managed to give ourselves an opportunity in the play-off to stay up."

Dundee finished runners-up at the end of their second season in the Championship and beat third-top Raith Rovers on aggregate despite losing the second leg at home 1-0 as their own run of seven games without defeat - and three consecutive wins - was ended.

"We're in a good run of form and we're quietly confident in terms of where we are at the minute as a team and how we've progressed as a team," Wright says. "But we're not thinking this is going to be an easy two legs - Dundee are in a decent run of form as well even though they lost to Raith."

Wright says that he has tried to not let his players dwell on the "enormity" of the consequences of relegation and rejects the suggestion that there is more pressure on Kilmarnock than their opponents.

"Dundee's a big club, massive club, probably should be in the Premiership," he suggests. "Pressure is equal because the prize is the same for both teams."

Wright also plays down the importance to Kilmarnock of Kyle Lafferty, the Northern Ireland striker who has scored 12 goals in 11 games since signing in February.

"The whole team is vital, because Kyle can't do it on his own," he adds. "He's done extremely well, but if you look at Saturday and recent weeks, goals have come from other players as well. We don't just rely on Kyle."

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