Jordan Jones dished out some “pain” to the boss he will be working under next season – then dedicated his match-winner against Rangers to his current Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke.
Steven Gerrard admitted it was inevitable that the man he has signed on a pre-contract would haunt his side at Rugby Park as Jones fired Killie to a 2-1 win.
But Jones was just grateful for the backing he has received from Clarke in the wake of the social media storm that followed the announcement of his impending Ibrox switch.
The Northern Ireland winger angered the Ayrshire faithful when he tweeted out a message including a hashtag referencing Gers chant ‘We are the People’.
But Clarke took the heat off the 24-year-old by insisting any Killie fan who booed Jones would also be taking aim at his team selection.
That gesture was appreciated by the former Middlesbrough youngster and he made a beeline for the former West Brom and Reading boss after scoring to thank Clarke for his words of support.
“There was a lot of media stuff before the game, but the gaffer put his trust in me and I really appreciate that,” said Jones.
“He has done that since I came back after the winter break and all the lads have as well. It was good to get the winning goal and repay him.
“He has backed me as much as he can and so have all the lads. I am employed by Kilmarnock now and I will give everything until the end of the season. Then we all know what will happen then.
“It was good to get the result tonight.”
With the spotlight guaranteed to be trained on Jones, many expected Clarke to leave him on the bench for the visit of Gerrard’s team.
But the player insists he never feared the extra focus ahead of facing the side he will join this summer.
He said: “A lot of people in the press said I had put extra pressure on myself, but I didn’t feel it. It was just a game like any other game.
“We had to go out and work hard. Everyone to a man was different class tonight and we won.”
“Was it strange scoring against the club I’ve just signed for? A bit, yeah. It was just one of those things. I just tried to give everything the other night and that is what I did along with the other lads.
“Everyone was different class. As you can see the gaffer has got everyone willing to give everything for him. That is why we are getting results.”
Jones’ winner sees Kilmarnock overtake Rangers into second place but the winger reckons the title talk focus will remain on the Old Firm.
“It’s good that we’re up to second – but everyone can keep talking about Rangers and Celtic,” he said.
“That’s the way we like it. We don’t really get a mention. But we like going under the radar. We will try to pick up as many points as we can. We will see where we end up.”
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