Kilmarnock have hit back at Kyle Lafferty in a statement after the former Rangers star accused the club of throwing players under the bus following their relegation from the Premiership.
Lafferty signed a short-term deal at Killie in February and starred over the second half of the campaign, netting 13 goals in 13 appearances.
However, the Ayrshire club were still relegated and are now rebuilding ahead of the 2021/22 Championship campaign.
After stating that they wanted Lafferty to stay on for next season, Killie released an update earlier this week confirming that he and three other first-team players would be leaving [Kilmarnockfc.co.uk].
The Northern Ireland international subsequently claimed in an interview with the Daily Record that the club’s update was ‘disingenuous’, before accusing them of failing to consult either him or his agent, of giving unrealistic deadlines on contract offers and of throwing players under the bus.
Killie have since ‘clarified’ Lafferty’s comments in a statement released on Sunday morning.
‘Following the conclusion of the play-off against Dundee, we entered into negotiations with players we wished to retain for the 2021/22 season which included Kyle,’ reads a section of the statement. ‘We received a series of figures from his representatives which were four times higher than the sum he received towards the end of the 2020/21 campaign.’
‘At this point, we informed Kyle and his representatives that there was no possibility of agreeing to those terms, which would have had a monumental impact on the allocated first-team budget for the season.
‘Following further discussions and both parties remaining miles apart, it was clear that no deal could be struck and in order to continue our planning for 2021/22, talks were brought to a close.’
We wish to clarify remarks made by Kyle Lafferty ⬇️
— Kilmarnock FC (@KilmarnockFC) June 6, 2021
Killie than directly denied Lafferty’s claim that some players were only given a matter of hours to consider contract offers, but despite expressing their disappointment with his comments, they thanked him for his contribution and wished him well for the future.
It’ll be interesting to see if the former Ger issues a reply of some kind to Killie’s version of events, but it seems as though his claim that he wasn’t ‘asking for the earth’ regarding the terms of a possible extension was wide of the mark.
It’s very clear that Lafferty won’t be pulling on the Killie shirt again despite his success there over the second half of the season, but he’s reportedly been offered the chance to stay in Scottish football by Motherwell [Scottish Sun].