Saturday 24 March 2018

Killie boss Lee McCulloch: Conor Sammon can earn Ireland call

Conor Sammon has not played for the Republic of Ireland since 2013
Conor Sammon has not played for the Republic of Ireland since 2013

Interim Kilmarnock boss Lee McCulloch believes on-loan striker Conor Sammon can earn himself a Republic of Ireland recall.

Sammon struck a late equaliser in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Partick Thistle, his second goal in two games and third for the club since joining from Hearts during the January transfer window.

The former Wigan and Derby frontman, who earned himself a move to the English Premiership in 2011 after a previous prolific spell with the Ayrshire side, has won nine caps for Ireland but none since 2013.

McCulloch, though, feels the 30-year-old will have a chance of adding to add to that tally if he continues his current form.

The Killie boss said: "He's really enjoying his football again.

"At his previous club his confidence was shot to pieces, for maybe a number of reasons, I don't know.

"But he knows this is sort of his second home. He's been here before, he's fired goals in here before.

"He's brilliant to work with.

"If he keeps playing and scoring goals, he should be going away on international duty.

"He's got everything, he scores goals, he's quick, he's strong, powerful, he's got a good strike on him.

"He's keen to keep improving and he's brilliant for the young boys in the dressing room.

"I'm delighted for him."

Partick had looked on course to snatch a fourth win in five Premiership matches when they took a 73rd-minute lead through Chris Erskine at Rugby Park.

But a late goalkeeping error from Tomas Cerny gifted Kilmarnock a point, with Sammon the man to take advantage.

Kilmarnock's 87th-minute leveller came a week after Partick Thistle also conceded a stoppage-time equaliser to draw 1-1 at home with Inverness, but Jags manager Alan Archibald insists he is not concerned with his team's recent habit of letting in late goals.

He said: "I think this game's a bit different [to the previous week].

"I don't think that's not seeing the game out. That's an error that you can't legislate for. We're not too deep, it's not bad defending.

"It was a bad clearance before the shot right enough but different to last week's game, that's for sure."

Archibald also shared the frustrations of striker Kris Doolan as he was not able to net his 100th goal for the club. After scoring against Caley Thistle last week, the frontman is only one goal shy of hitting the milestone.

The manager added: "It's a strange one for him because everybody kept on highlighting he's got a great record here and his performances have been really good against Kilmarnock this season, but I didn't think he was going to get it today.

"Part of me thought it wouldn't happen with him being a lad from down here [in Ayrshire]. His wife's family are all Kilmarnock fans.

"But it will come for him. His work-rate as ever was fantastic."

Press Association

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