KRIS BOYD has gone back to the beginning to make a new start.
Retracing his steps will have felt like the obvious thing to do for a player whose career has lost its way, the last few turns he has taken having only led the striker back to the same place; on the fringes of a playing squad and in need of a way out. His exit from Scottish football three years ago was seen as a natural progression for a player whose fulfilment had become limited by the quality of his opposition but he has returned hoping to find comfort in a familiar routine.
He eased back into it yesterday, completing his first training session since agreeing to rejoin Kilmarnock until the end of the season. Boyd has chosen to return to the club where he started his career but he may well wish that he had gone back in time since his first spell at Rugby Park was when he made his name as a striker with a killer instinct – those six seasons putting him on the way to scoring an unsurpassed 164 goals in the Scottish Premier League. That reputation has since been tarnished by less productive spells at Middlesbrough, Turkish side Eskisehirspor and Portland Timbers in the United States, clubs where reverence was in as short supply for the 29-year-old as goals seemed to be. Instead he left each one scarred by biting remarks about his fitness and attitude.
His second coming at Kilmarnock has been less of a miracle and more of a necessity then, although a wounded Boyd is still dangerous to SPL defences. He is expected to get a chance to prove it against Hibernian tomorrow night.
It would seem likely that the striker will make his reappearance as a Kilmarnock player from the bench at Easter Road given that Paul Heffernan has flourished as the sharp end of the side's attacks, but Boyd is not inclined to moan. Supporters of Middlesbrough and Portland might have found cause to doubt his attitude but his hunger and ambition was clear enough yesterday.
"The last two or three years have probably been a waste in terms of playing football but I know I've got a chance so long as I apply myself properly," admitted Boyd.
"The drive and determination is there and I don't want to be somebody who at 29, 30 is finished. I felt that coming back here takes me back to when I was younger and that's where I need to be, to get started again. Hopefully, that is the case. I have two or three months to save my career and I will stick by that."
Wrapping himself back in a Kilmarnock shirt might allow him to feel like his old self again, but Boyd chose to be dismissive about the success of his first spell in Ayrshire. His past has brought little comfort during a rough period in his career, after all. Staggering between five clubs in his three years since leaving Rangers – Boyd was also sent out on loan to Nottingham Forest in 2011, where he enjoyed a brief return to form – has been difficult but he has also been unfortunate by the instability which has stalked his every move. "Every manager that's signed me has been sacked, so Kenny better watch out," added Boyd, with a wry smile.