With three defeats on the bounce, the last team Kilmarnock need to face is a Celtic side that are defending their title with Aberdeen breathing down their necks.
Rooted in the relegation play-off spot and with basement side Dundee United now just eight points behind them and with a game in hand, new boss Lee Clark needs to turn things around – and fast.
He was encouraged by the display in their 2-1 defeat at Aberdeen last time out but feels that his side are being a bit haunted by the fear of relegation.
“I feel we wasted the first half because we played with too much fear,” Clark said after the Dons loss that saw top-scorer Josh Magennis on target.
“I had more belief in the players than they had in themselves. In the second half we played with aggression - with and without the ball - and we caused them numerous problems. We’re disappointed we didn't get something from the game.”
Clark still believes that his side will be fine as they try to avoid the relegation trapdoor but would like to see their decent performances transformed into results.
“There’s been improvement without a shadow of a doubt. We went to Aberdeen and took on a team who potentially could be champions in a couple of months and ran them close and gave them a real fright, especially in the second half.”
He’ll be hoping to put the frighteners on Celtic in front of the live TV cameras now as Ronny Deila’s side remain unconvincing despite beating Partick Thistle 2-1 last time out to put a stop on two consecutive draws previously.
Leigh Griffiths’ 35th goal of the season got the Celts on their way at Firhill and Callum McGregor added number two. But the Glasgow giants suffered some nervy moments in the game and they haven’t seen their lead at the top under as much intense scrutiny in years.
But his isn’t hitting the panic button and insists that winning the title is in their own hands and he isn’t getting distracted by what happens up at Pittodrie.
“I’m just happy with the three points and the performance was good as well. We have been in these situations so many times, but we are getting better every game and we hope to build on that,” said Deila after the victory at Partick.
“We have to concentrate on ourselves. Aberdeen have done very well, there are nine games left and we have to keep winning. It’s in our own hands.”
“We should have killed the game before. We had two one-on-ones with the goalkeeper and a lot of chances. That was a positive. We know we have good finishers in the team but today we weren’t as effective as we normally are.”
He’ll be hoping that his strikers can show a more clinical eye against Killie and what should prove another tough test against a side that are battling for their very SPL survival.
Kilmarnock Recent Form LWDLLL
Celtic Recent Form LWWDDW
21/11/2015 Celtic 0 – 0 Kilmarnock
12/08/2015 Kilmarnock 2 – 2 Celtic
15/04/2015 Celtic 4 – 1 Kilmarnock
05/01/2015 Kilmarnock 0 – 2 Celtic
26/10/2014 Celtic 2 – 0 Kilmarnock
Kilmarnock (4-4-2) – MacDonald, Hodson, Balatoni, Findlay, Smith, McKenzie, Kiltie, Dicker, Obadeyi, Magennis, Faubert.
Celtic (4-4-2) – Gordon, Lustig, Sviatchenko, Mulgrew, Tierney, Brown, Bitton, Kazim-Richards, Commons, Mackay-Steven, Griffiths.
Kilmarnock: Westlake (inj), Connolly (inj), Johnston (inj), Westlake (inj).
Celtic: Celtic: Simunovic (inj), McGregor (susp).