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Clarke given food for thought as Kilmarnock look to end poor run

Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke admitted he would need to “go away and reflect” after his side’s 1-0 defeat to Livingston on Saturday.

Chris Erskine’s first-half goal was enough to hand Kilmarnock a third defeat in just six days and extended their winless streak to seven matches.

With another difficult fixture looming against in-form Motherwell on Wednesday, Clarke admitted he would have to give that proposition some serious thought.

He said: “As a manager, when you’ve lost your third game in a week, you just want to go away and reflect on the performance. We have a tough game against Motherwell in midweek and it would be nice to get a win.

“But we don’t shout too loudly when things go well for us and we won’t get down now when we’ve had a bad week.”

The build-up to Saturday’s game at the Tony Macaroni Arena was overshadowed by the re-opening of the debate into sectarianism in football following Clarke’s comments at Ibrox on Wednesday night that he had been targeted for religious abuse by a section of the Rangers support.

The Kilmarnock fans unfurled a banner in support of Clarke before kick-off and sang his name throughout the match. The manager thanked them for their backing and apologised that the team could not deliver a victory.

He added: “I’ve had great backing from the Kilmarnock fans since the day I walked into Firhill. They’ve always been with me, always behind me. I’m sorry we couldn’t send them home happier.”

Livingston manager Gary Holt, meanwhile, was satisfied that his tactics to counter Kilmarnock’s strengths had worked just as he had hoped.

He added: “We changed our system and personnel, and had a gameplan to go and try to hurt them when we had the ball. And we did that.

“You analyse how the opposition play and set up your team accordingly. We looked to see if we had the personnel to make the changes we wanted and we did. And we then looked to see if we could change it again during the game if it wasn’t going our way – and we could. You weigh up everything and this time it’s worked.”

Holt was forced into an early change when wing-back Ricki Lamie went off with an injury and the manager revealed it was still too soon to make a diagnosis.

He added: “The physio said it’s something to do with his hamstring but we’ll have a look and see how he is.”