AN inevitable consequence of one of Scotland’s smaller clubs enjoying success on a limited budget is that larger and richer rivals start casting envious glances towards their players and manager.

So it was understandable that Kirk Broadfoot’s happiness at Kilmarnock continuing their remarkable run under Steve Clarke and defeating his former club Rangers at Ibrox on Sunday was tempered by that realisation.

Broadfoot, the former St Mirren, Blackpool and Rotherham United centre half who has been around for a while and knows how the game works, appreciates holding on to Clarke and team mates like Jordan Jones this summer will be challenging.

The win at the weekend stretched the Ayrshireman’s unbeaten run against the two main Glasgow clubs since he was appointed back in October to five – his side has beaten and drawn with Celtic and beaten Rangers twice and drawn with them once.

That, and the fact the Rugby Park club have now lost just once in regulation time in 19 games, will not have gone unnoticed in boardrooms both in this country and further afield.

Asked if Kilmarnock could do even better under the former West Brom and Reading manager next term, Broadfoot said: “If we can keep hold of him, yes. If we can keep him then who knows what next season can bring.

“I think though we will have a wee bit of interest in our players if we keep this run going, there will be a few guys getting a few bids come the summer. But if we can keep hold of the gaffer and he does stay, if we can get a pre-season under him, it’s only a bright future for Kilmarnock.”

Clarke himself stated that he had run out of adjectives to praise his group of players, of whom Jones and Youssouf Mulumbu were once again the standouts, after a victory which increased their chances of securing a top six place.

However, Broadfoot, who worked under Walter Smith during the five years that he spent as a player at Ibrox, rates the former Chelsea, West Ham and Liverpool assistant among the best coaches he has ever played under and knows how much credit he must take.

“His training is second to none,” he said. “He sets us up game related. Even after the cup game against Aberdeen on Tuesday, when we went into extra-time, we were back in working on our shape towards this game. It’s all credit to the manager. The gaffer is up there with the best I’ve worked with.”

One Kilmarnock player who is unlikely to depart in the close season is striker Kris Boyd. The 34-year-old took his tally for the 2017/18 campaign to 20 with a close-range strike in the 55th minute. He is a strong contender for the Player of the Year awards which will soon be doled out.

“People just come to expect 20-goals from Kris Boyd because he done it for good knows how many years,” said Broadfoot. “But I think he’ll say himself he’s a wee bit surprised he’s up there as he was going to chuck it.

“He was shouting in the dressing room that was his 100th tap-in. But what can you say about him? He’s done it for the last 15-years. If we create chances he’ll score them.”

The same cannot be said of Rangers. Alfredo Morelos missed a late sitter in the 3-2 defeat to Celtic eight days ago and at the weekend Russell Martin spurned two gilt-edged opportunities. He headed wide in the first-half and struck the crossbar in the second.

But Graeme Murty’s side, as Martin admitted afterwards, had once again failed to deliver. They must do better if they are to beat Aberdeen, who are now just two points behind with a game in hand, to second spot.

“I’ve had the two best chances of the day,” he said. “One of them has got to go in. I thought the second one was in, but it’s hit the bar and the post and did everything but go in. It’s disappointing. But it was one of those games when we weren’t quite at it.

“We didn’t really create much compared to recent weeks. It was the first time in a long time we didn’t hit the levels we have recently, and that’s the frustrating thing.”