KILMARNOCK hero Stuart Findlay has shrugged off interest from English clubs and credited the Ayrshire side from taking him from football obscurity to becoming an international player.

The defender scored an injury time headed winner in Rhyl as Killie fought back from a goal down to defeat Welsh side Connah's Quay Nomads 2-1 in the Europa League first qualifying round, first leg, after Eamonn Brophy had levelled from the penalty spot.

Findlay was the centre of attention this week after Oxford United manager Karl Robinson went public with his admiration of the 23-year-old amid reports he was preparing a £500,000 bid. Other teams in England have also expressed interest in the player who broke into the Scotland set-up last season.

But instead of having his head turned, Findlay was at pains to point out how much Killie have helped his career.

"If someone says something publicly about you then it is nice to hear," he said, "But I am a Kilmarnock player and I am over the moon to be a Kilmarnock player. Kilmarnock over the last two years have taken me from obscurity to playing the best football I have ever played in my life and in to the Scotland international set-up. So I owe everything to Kilmarnock. Whatever happens off the field has nothing to do with me.

"Football is the ultimate confidence sport. I have always had belief in my own ability and that I can play at the levels that I am currently playing at. It took a bit of managerial genius from Steve Clarke in the way that he used me to drag it out of me. I feel that I now truly belong that in this Kilmarnock team.

"At the end of the Connah's Quay game there were three stands of Killie fans loving what I did for them. That gave me a feeling of immense pride that I have not had anywhere else in my career. All those supporters mean everything to me."

Findlay is relishing life under new manager Angelo Alessio, who took over from Scotland boss Clarke in the summer. And he is determined Killie can continue to overachieve next season.

He said: "Every time you reach a landmark in your career you always want to push on for the next one. I know I did well last season but I have not really achieved anything yet and I need to go and make myself as good a player as I can for Kilmarnock because that's all that matters. If that helps me get noticed by the new Scotland boss then great.

"The new manager has been really good. It is a different world to me as I have never had a foreign manager before. I spoke with our new keeper Laurentiu Branescu and he said it is a carbon copy of what Antonio Conte did when he was at Chelsea. It is a really different way of looking at football and it is a great thing.

"Steve Clarke instilled a great discipline and a way of not getting beat but if we can add another string to our bow under Angelo Alessio then that can be good for us.

"He has got the patterns of play that he wants and has a unique style and way that he wants me to play as a defender. It is something that can only make me a better player. I've really enjoyed the first couple of weeks under him.

"I think the smart way to look at the new season is to go in with the same mentality and take every game as it comes. The next leg of the Europa League is the only thing I care about just now.

"Then when the league comes around, the first game is against Rangers and we want to try and start the campaign well.

"It is hard to set targets especially after the amazing season we had last year. All we can do is take it game by game and make sure we rack up as many points, and put in as many good performances, as we can."