This week I chatted with current Kilmarnock FC midfielder Rory McKenzie about his career so far. We talked about the funniest players, idols growing up and how this season has been for him personally. This week he put pen to paper on a new two-year deal at Killie, keeping him at the club till the 2020 season. This should see him to complete ten years at the club on a professional contract and potentially qualify for a testimonial at the grand old age of 26!
Currently Killie's longest serving player and having captained the club at age 22, he has amassed an impressive 187 matches for Kilmarnock scoring 17 times. Rory has played pretty much every position for Killie in his time with us. His versatility has hindered him in the past, in my opinion, a very hard working solid professional who is willing to do a real shift and fill in where he is needed for the team.
Unfairly criticised at times, in my eyes, I think Rory is a extremely underrated member of our squad, and I was delighted to see him given a new deal last week. I think we will see the best of Rory now in a settled position on the right of our midfield. He has scored some excellent goals in his time so far, including a goal from nearly the half way line, away at St Johnstone last season. I also recall a few years back at Dundee, an incredible solo run from 70 yards out, leaving four or five opponents for dead, before slotting the ball home.
Fun fact - Rory qualifies for Trinidad and Tobago international team through his Grandmother. He also has studied for a degree to become a lawyer in his spare time.
Lets hear from the man himself...enjoy...
1) How did you signing for Killie come about?I had played with Caledonian until I was 7 years old and then played with Troon up until the age of 11 or 12. I enjoyed playing with my friends so didn’t go pro-youth until a few years later than the likes of Ross Davidson and other boys I knew. I signed with Kilmarnock when I was 12, I think.
2) Biggest influence on your career?I would have to say my Mum and Dad. I know everyone says that but if it wasn’t for them taking me to training and away matches, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
3) Toughest player you have played against?I remember we played Sunderland in a pre-season friendly a few years back at Rugby Park and I played against Stephane Sessengnon. He was quite small but quick, very intelligent with the ball.
4) Top three players you have played with in your career?I’d say Gary Dicker, Sammy Clingan and Stuart Armstrong with Scotland under 21s. Gary and Sammy are both incredibly calm on the ball no matter what situation they are in.
After hearing those three players I mentioned it was refreshing to have a different perspective of players from the usual suspects Eremenko etc. Rory replied with -Cannot believe I forgot about Alexei he was some player, you probably should stick him in with Boydie as well, incredible finisher.
5) Favourite goal you have scored for Kilmarnock?Would have to be my goal against Ayr in the Cup at Rugby Park a few years back. Good atmosphere and a decent crowd that night. Always good to score against Ayr.
6) Best moment at the club so far?It would probably have to be the draw at Ibrox earlier this season. I don’t know why but just the way the game had gone and with the penalty miss and then going up the other end and snatching an unlikely draw was really very satisfying for us. An excellent point and a good start for the manager which kicked off our season. Momentum has grown ever since that game.
7) Who was your favourite player/idol growing up?I was a Manchester United supporter when I was younger and always had the strips with Beckham on the back. David Beckham for me definitely.
8) The revival this season under Steve Clarke has been massive, how has this season been for you personally?I have enjoyed this season massively. I played at the start when the manager came in to the club and I was loving it. I found myself missing some games in November but I am proud of the way I bounced back and got myself back in the team after Christmas.
9) What players have really made you laugh in your time at Kilmarnock?There have been so many funny guys at the club in my time here. I’d say Paul Heffernan, who had a very dry sense of humour, but I found him really funny. From our current squad Boydie, Gaz Dicker and Jordan Jones love a joke.
10) Knowing that you are a keen golfer Rory, which golfer would you like to play a round with if you
could?Has to be Tiger Woods, fantastic golfer and probably the biggest name in sport.
Thanks to Rory for his time. All the best to him for the rest of season.
Forever and Ever