Sam Walker has plenty of experience with relegation battles in his career.

The goalkeeper was twice a part of a Colchester team to survive in League One on the final day of the season.

While the 31-year-old certainly hopes to avoid a last-day survival mission with Killie, the former Chelsea and Reading keeper insists he can lean upon such experiences to help in the Ayrshire club’s quest to stay in the Premiership.

Also addressing the Celtic challenge this weekend, he said: “I will be there to help the team when I can. I have really enjoyed the whole season, but particularly games against the bigger teams when there’s a good chance, I’ll be relied upon a bit more. 

“I enjoyed the games in January albeit we didn’t get the results we wanted. Hopefully, on Sunday, it can be a good individual performance, team performance, and positive result. 

“That was actually one of the biggest disappointments we had at Parkhead. We’d frustrated them for a long period in that first half. We were a couple of minutes away from getting in at half-time with a 0-0.

“You don’t know how the second half would look then. They would have to come out more, which might’ve opened some extra gaps for us in other parts of the pitch.

“We were frustrated to concede when we did at Parkhead. If anything, the frustration back then, we can use as a positive to show that we did that then and dealt with their attacking threats well.

“I was involved in two final-day survival jobs. They were high-pressure but both had positive outcomes.

“We beat Carlisle away, so it was a big away day. That was my first sort of loan spell there. We managed to stay in the league that day.

“The next time was against Preston at home. It was on Sky, I think Preston were aiming for automatic promotion and we were trying to stay in the league. We actually missed a penalty on that day too. We experienced all sorts of emotions on that day.”

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During Killie's promotion success last year, Walker was very much playing second-fiddle to Zach Hemming. 

This term, it's been a total switch for the shot-stoppers in Ayrshire, with Walker claiming the No.1 jersey.

It was very evident how much Walker encouraged Hemming as the Championship title was sealed last April. Now, it's the young Middlesbrough loanee's turn to push Walker.

“Yeah, he’s certainly returning the favour this year," Walker admitted. "We’re very close, Zach and I. We developed a very good relationship early on last season.

“He was excellent for the team last season and didn’t give me a sniff.

“It’s been a complete role reversal this season. He’s been helping me out all the way. Doing some of the leg work during the week if I needed rest, anything like that.

“We bounce off each other and we’ve got a great relationship with the goalkeeper coach Fraser Stewart.

“We’re a tight unit and he’s definitely repaying that help and advice that I gave him at the end of last season.

“The football club’s lucky to have the two of us. We push each other on and get the best out of each other. We know that the other one can step in if we’re not doing the business. That was a large part of why we had success as a goalkeeping unit last year and likewise again this year.”