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Youngsters soar for first team but fly under radar

CRAIG SAMSON believes Kilmarnock's young players are not getting the recognition they deserve but hopes that maintaining a low profile will help keep them at the club.

Kilmarnock started with five players aged 20 or under in Sunday's match against Aberdeen, with a further three taking their places on the substitutes bench, and most have had a role to play in the club's recent good run of form.

There has not been the same level of hype around the likes of Craig Slater and Lee Ashcroft compared to the young players emerging at Dundee United and elsewhere but Samson, a relative veteran at 29, believes that could work in Kilmarnock's favour.

"The young boys here are flying under the radar, which is a good thing in many ways," said the goalkeeper. "A lot of times they go unnoticed but if you look at the team the other day we had Lee, Craig Slater, Chris Johnston, Big Robbie [Muirhead] and Rory McKenzie. They are all young boys who have been doing very well for us.

"They have made a big impact of late and long may that continue. Slater has been different class. He has worked away to get his chance and when he finally got in the team he has taken it. He has been our best player over the past five or six games and all credit to him. That was also Robbie's first start and he did very well against a really good Aberdeen team."

Kilmarnock had taken nine points from a possible 12 before facing Aberdeen at Rugby Park but even in defeat Samson felt there were signs that the team is moving in the right direction. "It was disappointing to lose a late goal at a set-piece but it also shows how far we have come as a team," he added.

"We played Aberdeen on the opening day of the season and they battered us. This time I thought we at least deserved a draw. So there are a lot of positives we can take out of the game this time. I thought we played well."

Kilmarnock do not have a game this weekend after Celtic asked for a postponement to allow them to compete in the Antalya Cup in Turkey. Samson is not too disappointed about the enforced hiatus. "We now have a break to recharge our batteries. We can get away from it and come back and start again."

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