KILMARNOCK match winner Marley Watkins tonight revealed that Rugby Park manager Derek McInnes had told his men to pile the pressure on Celtic’s inexperienced players before their Viaplay Cup encounter.

Parkhead manager Brendan Rodgers was forced to field an untried centre back partnership in the second-round match in Ayrshire yesterday due to injuries to Cameron Carter-Vickers and Stephen Welsh.

Watkins, who netted what ultimately proved to be the winner in the 59th minute, admitted that McInnes had ordered his charges to get in the faces of defenders Gustaf Lagerbielke and Maik Nawrocki from kick-off.

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“We always get advice about the players we’re up against,” said the Welsh striker following the 1-0 triumph. “We know they are under pressure to win. But we just stuck to our game plan and it paid off.

“It was a great win and we’re buzzing. It’s been a great start to the season. Hopefully we can kick on again. It feels like we’re capable of anything right now.

“It’s been a great start but that’s all it is - a start. We have a lot more to do but hopefully we can build from here. It’s onto the next one now. We’ll enjoy today and then focus on the next game.

“Hopefully we can achieve big things. Hopefully we’ll not get carried away and we’ll keep playing for each other, keep that team spirit together. I’m sure we will because it’s a great dressing room. Who knows what will happen? Let’s just see and keep doing what we’re doing.

The Herald: Marley Watkins scored the vital goal for the hosts

“I just think we are a good team with good players. They obviously had chances early on. But it’s Celtic, they’re gonna have chances. I think we can hurt teams as well. Obviously they could have scored, but we could have won by more.”

Watkins, who got on the end of a Danny Armstrong cross in the second-half and fired beyond Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart from close range, admitted he feared his goal would be disallowed for offside following a VAR review.

“I thought I had gone too early,” he said. “But I came back on and I was buzzing that it counted. After that celebration! I thought: ‘F****** h***! If they overturn it I’ll look like an idiot’. I was buzzing they gave it.”

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Meanwhile, McInnes confessed that he had asked Kilmarnock teenager David Watson to do a man marking job on Celtic new boy Odin Thiago Holm and then keep Parkhead skipper Callum McGregor quiet and had been pleased with how he performed. 

"I think that is his best game for me," he said. "We asked him to play up against the wee boy Holm. We thought he would come in for (David) Turnbull and we spoke to Davey about trying to nullify that and work off him.

"When you play with Watkins and (Matty) Kennedy, who naturally want to come towards the ball, you need to get those supporting runs as well. It is not just enough to negate, we wanted (Kyle) Magennis, him and (Brad) Lyons to work off their midfielders as well.

"Even the last 15 minutes, when we asked him to play against (Callum) McGregor and said to not to let him have an influence, he stuck to his task admirably. As I said, I think that is his best game for us. He has hardly put a foot wrong since he came into the team."