KILMARNOCK’s journey to the top of the Premiership table has not gone unspotted by their rivals.

Not so long ago the prospect of a visit from the Rugby Park side would

have had most opposition managers preparing to set their team out in attacking fashion, a home win firmly in their thoughts.

Now a greater element of caution accompanies those tactics, an acknowledgement that, should they set out too gung-ho, Kilmarnock have the players to pick them off in devastating style. Giving players like Jordan Jones, Greg Stewart and Eamonn Brophy time and space to run at a backtracking defence usually only ends one way.

Hamilton Accies put in a typically tenacious display on Saturday to earn themselves a well-merited point and this afternoon Kilmarnock head to the other side of Lanarkshire to face Motherwell at Fir Park. Alan Power expects another gruelling battle.

“Have we become a scalp for other teams? It felt like that at Hamilton,” said the Kilmarnock midfielder. “They probably celebrated a lot more than we did and we were away from home. We were half-happy with a point gained away from home, so we’ve already moved onto the Motherwell game.

“From what I’ve seen of them previously, it will be a very tough game, especially on their home patch. It will be another battle for us but if we want to stay up and around the top five or six in the league we have to come through games like that. We are going there hoping to win.

“I don’t mind the physical contests at all. I was brought up on that style of game, so it’s already in me. The Scottish game in general is pretty physical, so the demands are there and when all the boys stand up to it, hopefully we come out on top more often than not.”

Kilmarnock will round off what has been a very productive year by welcoming St Mirren to Rugby Park on Saturday, before heading off on what will be a very welcome winter break.

The fixture congestion makes it a frenetic period for all clubs but Power would rather be playing than not.

“It’s pretty busy but wherever you are it’s like that in the Christmas period,” added the Irishman. “It’s nice that the games are coming thick and fast and that you don’t have to think about them too much. If you don’t get the result you want, it’s not too long before you have another game to put it right.

“I love the festive period. It’s a lot of football. Three games in a week is something to look forward to. We keep ticking over in training. The gaffer will do the training as he sees fit, with the games we’ve had. But we do our work on the pitch, especially over the festive period. We want to finish the year on a high, starting with Motherwell away and we are going there to try to win.”

Kilmarnock have been remarkably consistent throughout 2018, a fact reflected by them twice topping the table in recent weeks. But nobody at the club is getting carried away.

“It’s nice to see where we are over the calendar but we really are taking it one game at a time,” added Power. “We never get ahead of ourselves or look too far up the table. We are not getting reeled into what people might expect from us this year.”