ONE of the most impressive aspects of the reversal of fortunes effected at Kilmarnock by Steve Clarke is that they have been achieved by his organisational and motivational skills plus his ability to improve individuals rather than making wholesale changes to his squad – and his approach will not change when the transfer window opens on Thursday.

That’s in spite of the fact six loan signings will return to their parent clubs, Northern Ireland winger Jordan Jones has agreed terms with Rangers and veterans Kris Boyd and Alex Bruce have yet to be offered new contracts.

Killie have already beaten their top-tier points total for a season and can secure their first third-place finish since 1966 and their first European sojourn since 2001 by equalling or bettering Aberdeen’s result against Hibs at Easter Road when they host Rangers on Sunday but Clarke won’t be demanding a massive budget from chairman Billy Bowie.

“There will be minimal changes,” he said. “I sat with [No.2] Alex Dyer last week and went through the squad and pretty much everyone is signed up long-term, outside of the loan signings. “We have a really good core of around 18 players plus we have others coming back from loan spells elsewhere.

“Greg Kiltie has done well at Morton, Innes Cameron has reached double figures in goals in his first loan with Stranraer, Iain Wilson is still involved with Queen of the South in the play-offs and Dom Thomas was nominated for the PFA Scotland Player of the Year award, although I told him that – with his talent – it would have been a disgrace if he hadn’t been.

“Jamie MacDonald has been champing at the bit to play; he’s a No.1 goalkeeper and had been here for years but he’s missed out recently because Daniel Bachmann has been outstanding.

“The spine of the team is there, then, with Jamie, Kirk Broadfoot and Stuart Findlay, Gary Dicker and Alan Power plus Eamonn Brophy.

“What we have to do now is repeat what we’ve done in previous windows and find one or two little gems who can come in, give the place a lift and make the team better.”