Miles Addison: Morton defeat was wake-up call for Kilmarnock
Kilmarnock vice-captain Miles Addison has warned the new Rugby Park recruits they need to get to grips with first-team football quickly or risk another year of anguish.
Boss Lee Clark signed up 11 new players - the oldest of whom is just 22 - this summer after clearing out the majority of the squad which came so close to relegation last term.
But the Englishman's new-look side were humbled by Ladbrokes Championship outfit Morton on Saturday as they suffered a 2-0 Betfred Cup defeat.
Jim Duffy's unbeaten Ton now look destined to top Group H but the desperate nature of his side's weekend loss has left Addison worried that Killie and their fresh-faced rookies could end up facing another fight for survival.
He said: "It is a hard result to take but we didn't deserve anything from Saturday's game.
"We can analyse it as much as we like, but at the end of the day we can all look at ourselves in the mirror and know we didn't do enough as individuals to get anything from it.
"Quite a few of the boys who came in have not really played much first-team football and now they've had a taste of what the game is about up here.
"If they weren't sure what they were in for they will know now. The result is a wake-up call for everyone.
"They are only going to realise what this league is about from playing games. You can be as good as you want on the training pitch but when it comes to a Saturday, that is when we need them to perform.
"After what we went through last season we can't afford to get off to a slow start. We need these new boys to get up to speed as quickly as possible. We haven't got time for everyone to settle in."
Kilmarnock now travel to Shielfield Park to face Berwick Rangers, with Saturday's visit of Albion Rovers their only other group fixture before they get back down to Premiership duty on August 6 against Motherwell.
Clark's only injury absentee is teenage goalkeeper Devlin Mackay but the manager has promised to make changes to his line-up following their Morton setback.
Now former Derby and Bournemouth centre-back Addison says there must be huge improvements from those getting the nod to start in those two remaining cup fixtures.
"I think in the back of a lot of people's heads has been August 6 but these are competitive games now and the next game is Tuesday with another to come on Saturday," he said. "After that we're into the league and we need to be flying by then.
"The new boys and everyone else know we need to get right up to speed straight away."
Berwick include Ben Stirling and Sean Mackie - loan signings from Hibs - in their squad.
Steve Notman misses out after getting married at the weekend, Barry Hogg is on holiday and Darren Lavery is an injury doubt.