Lee McCulloch wants Kilmarnock to secure safety before deciding his own future
Lee McCulloch has urged Kilmarnock to bat off the threat of relegation this weekend and allow him to finally thrash out his future with the Rugby Park board.
The caretaker boss has been in charge since Lee Clark quit back in February but has refused to enter into talks with the Killie directors about taking the job full-time while the threat of demotion hung over the club.
However, the Ayrshire outfit are now on the verge of safety and require just a point at home to bottom-placed Inverness on Saturday to stave off the drop for another year.
Now McCulloch wants to complete the job so he can get down to business with the board.
“I think that’s the way to go,” he said. “To be fair to the board, they have been good and respected my wishes.
“What I’ve said from the start is that I think it’s best for everybody that we don’t get sidetracked, we don’t lose focus. Let’s get safe and then sit down.
“If it’s meant to be, it is. If it isn’t, it isn’t. That’s the way I’m looking at it.
“I said in my speech at the club’s AGM this week that the club and the fans are more important than my situation. That’s why I didn’t want to get distracted with off-field stuff.
“With the way the club has been over the last seven or eight seasons, the next appointment has to be right. But for it to be right, the person taking the job has to have expectations and have them matched [by the board], so that’s where the discussion comes in.”
McCulloch will welcome goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald back into his line-up for the Caley Thistle clash after Newcastle loanee Freddie Woodman was called up to England’s Under-20s World Cup squad.
Inverness defender Kevin McNaughton hopes the experience of Maurice Malpas can prove invaluable in their battle against the drop.
The former Scotland and Dundee United defender returned to the Caley Thistle coaching staff before the split and, although his first game ended in a 4-0 derby defeat, Inverness claimed their second win in 24 Ladbrokes Premiership matches with a 2-1 triumph over Hamilton last weekend.
McNaughton said: “Maurice has bags of experience. Any input he brings is obviously important to the likes of myself and the rest of the boys. There is obviously a couple of inexperienced lads as well. He’ll have a big influence on them.
“We were working on certain things at the back and he was obviously keeping an eye on everything with a fresh set of eyes – he’s not seen what has gone on earlier in the season – so things like that can be invaluable. Hopefully, it proves to be in the end.”
The appointment was prompted by the board, but boss Richie Foran has praised his former Motherwell manager’s impact.
Foran said: “He’s very level-headed. He never gets too high or too low. He’s got great football knowledge – he was a wonderful defender and has worked with our defenders over the last few weeks. I’ve taken the strikers with Brian (Rice). Everyone is doing their bit.
“To be able to bring Maurice in on the defensive side is a huge coup for us and he’s done a great job.”
Inverness will have midfielders Liam Polworth (suspension) and Iain Vigurs (illness) back in their squad.