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Jim Jefferies <-auth Ian Paul auth-> Willie Young
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Jefferies already knows the score as Kilmarnock come bouncing back Williamson learning to manage the hard way

Ian Paul

16 Dec 1996

Kilmarnock 2 Hearts 0

HE HAS been in charge of Kilmarnock for only two games, but Bobby Williamson has already had a ride on the roller-coaster that will be his delight and despair if he makes a career of it.

The exhilaration of victory when it was desperately needed at the weekend contrasted with the dejection of his first match at the helm the previous week.

That is the way it will be, and he might as well get used to it.

His sense of satisfaction was easily understood as he chatted afterwards, but if he had hung around, he would have seen the disappointment etched on the face of his rival, Jim Jefferies.

On second thoughts, maybe that would not have been a good idea after all.

Jefferies, as Williamson well knows, is one of the bright new generation of managers, one touted for greater glory in due course, but even for the gifted, it can be a rough old business.

Only a few weeks ago, his team put up a fine show against Rangers in the first cup final of the season, and correctly received rave notices.

They have not won a match since.

On that memorable Sunday afternoon, Jefferies bemoaned the slack defending that costs his team at times.

The flaw remains unresolved.

Perhaps worse, as Jefferies pointed out, the team did not give themsleves a shake until after Killie had gone in front with a goal by Colin McKee, by which time the Ayrshire lot were in no mood to concede anything.

Killie, in fact, were out of the stalls like desperate men, apparently consumed by the desire to make amends for a performance last week which might have been described as the consequence of post-Totten trauma.

If the staff were entitled to feel stunned by the sacking of their manager, they were also entitled to realise quickly that their own livelihoods are also on the line.

Presumably, that explained their absolute commitment to the task.

Long before McKee put Kilmarnock in front early in the second half, they had declared their intentions to fight from start to finish for the points.

It was a dedication not matched by the Edinburgh side, whose defence, with one very notable exception, must have had Jefferies putting his hands over his eyes on several occasions.

The exception was David Weir, who might even have been the best player on the park, although Kilmarnock youngster David Bagan made it a photo-finish.

Weir was magnificent as a central defender in the first half, which was just as well as his partner, Pasquale Bruno, had a forgettable afternoon, and in the second half when he was pushed to the wing-back role, he was Hearts' best attacker.

Jefferies reckoned Weir was the only player who came near to form, but he did excuse new boy Jim Hamilton, who did not get much help on his debut.

He described the defensive performance as "dreadful" and found no dissenters.

In contrast, Killie's Yugoslav keeper, Dragoje Lekovic, was a happy young man, having returned to the team and achieved the goalie's delight, a shut-out.

Dropped by Totten on November 1, Lekovic took the huff, and asked for a transfer.

"The transfer request is still in place," he said, "but if I am kept in the first team, I could be persuaded to stay here.

The fans have been great to me, and I love the club.

"However, my contract is up at the end of the season and maybe the club will want to sell me before that because of Bosman." Williamson said that he had replaced Colin Meldrum because the young keeper admitted he had felt nervous last week after the events of the previous couple of days.

"He will be back, and will be a great keeper for this club," said the caretaker manager.

Williamson not only learned the ups and downs inside eight days, but quickly demonstrated that he has acquired the necessary explosive temper to annoy referees from the dug-out.

He was warned by an angry ref, Willie Young, late in the second half, thus adding another notch to his CV.

He was happy with all of his men, but Billy Findlay must have given him special satisfaction.

The ex-Hibs player did an immense amount of work but, more than that, he was constantly leading by example in the middle of the park and, in fact, set up the second goal for Ally Mitchell, although it came as a result of a poor kick-out by Gilles Rousset who then had to suffer the embarrassment of seeing Mitchell's shot rush through his legs and over the line.

Next League games: Kilmarnock - Rangers (a); Hearts - Rangers (h)

Taken from the Herald

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