WHEN Steve Clarke replaced Lee McCulloch as the manager of Kilmarnock in October, 2017, he inherited a team anchored at the foot of the Premiership table and who were odds-on to be relegated after failing to win any of their first eight league games.

Fast forward 12 months and the Ayrshire club has undergone a makeover which the SOS DIY team could not have bettered.

Saturday saw them come from behind against St Mirren to rack up a fourth successive victory (they had also been a goal down in each of the three previous matches) to hoist themselves up to third place.

More impressively, the win at the weekend means they have taken more points than any other top-flight club in 2018 (52 to Celtic’s 50). According to centre-back Stuart Findlay, though, no one at Rugby Park is getting ahead of themselves.

“We don’t get a trophy for it,” he said. “It’s a nice stat to have and shows how far we have come as a club and a good marker for us to go on with but at this point, that’s all it is – just a stat.

“For us, we want to keep winning and keep performing well. You let the stats, the league positions and everything take care of itself.

“We’ll just concentrate on our performances and try to continue in the same vein.

“It’s a matter of keeping the levels and not letting complacency or a lackadaisical attitude slip into our form. We need to keep the standards of the last year which have stood us in good stead.”

With league leaders Hearts and second-place Celtic meeting in Sunday’s Betfred Cup semi-final, Kilmarnock can go top of the table by beating Hamilton 2-0 at Rugby Park on Saturday.

Findlay concedes that it is Clarke who is largely responsible for the transformation in their fortunes. The 55-year-old will not allow his players to rest on their laurels, insisting that there is more to come from a squad which is already over-achieving.

“It’s been an incredible run but the manager will tell you there have been days when we’ve dropped points we shouldn’t have,” he said.

“Against Hearts, we lost a goal in the last 10 minutes, away to Hibs we conceded a penalty and lost a point – so we know there’s definitely room for improvement.

“We know we can’t let our levels drop because things can go down just as quickly as they went up."

Findlay also revealed that Clarke stressing the need for individual players to accept responsibility for their failings has strengthened the collective.

“There’s a mentality when a team isn’t doing well, where players point fingers and blame others,” he said. “But the main thing about a team trying to improve is being able to look at themselves and realise what they can do better.

“The sooner that individuals see what they are doing wrong, the quicker it helps the team – that’s better than pointing fingers and deflecting the blame.

“It’s easier to look in the mirror when you’re doing well. That’s not something which comes with winning. It’s easy to have each other’s back when you are winning games and the manager has instilled belief that we can win and beat anyone.

“It’s nothing to do with changing the mentality of players as people – it’s about changing the way we feel going onto the park.

“Ask any player in the world and they’ll tell you there is no better feeling than sitting half an hour after a game knowing you’ve won. It just makes everything easier.

“We’ve got that taste for winning. We know what it takes. It’s a just a matter of us keeping it going.”