Kilmarnock V Hibernian at Rugby Park : Match Preview

21 February 2014 05:31
Kilmarnock V Hibernian - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Tesselaar reveals mask fear

Kilmarnock defender Jeroen Tesselaar has revealed he might have to wear a mask for the rest of his career.

The 25-year-old has worn the protective face shield in recent games after suffering a recurring broken nose.

The Dutchman, whose side host Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday, said: "I broke my nose at the beginning of the season two weekends in a row, and now I broke it again. So I need to wear some protection.

"I don't know for how long yet. Until the summer for sure but maybe forever or for another year.

"You get used to it because I train every day with the mask as well."

Tesselaar and his team-mates have shown they can adapt to new situations already this season after turning around their early-season form.

Killie took 11 games to win under manager Allan Johnston after a summer of upheaval on and off the pitch but will close the gap on seventh-placed Hibs to two points if they beat Terry Butcher's men.

And Tesselaar believes they can launch a push for the top six if they were to follow that with victory over his former club, St Mirren, the following weekend.

"We had a bad start to the season, we had a lot of new players and we had to get used to each other," he said.

"But everyone has got to know each other and the manager and we need a good spell now.

"I think we need two wins in a row now. If we win two games, we can look up."

Tom Taiwo has his sights set on a new Hibernian contract after his "mad" return to favour.

Butcher told the midfielder his game time would be limited shortly after taking charge in November.

The 23-year-old did not feature for almost two months but, with Owain Tudur Jones, Kevin Thomson and Scott Robertson all suffering injuries, Taiwo has started the last three games.

And with skipper Liam Craig suspended for last weekend's home game against Ross County, the unlikely central midfield pairing of Taiwo and teenager Sam Stanton both scored in a 2-1 win.

The former Chelsea and Carlisle player told Hibernian TV: "I got a chance through injuries and suspensions and hopefully, through my goal at the weekend and a couple of half-decent performances, I have put myself back in the manager's plans.

"It's mad. Obviously we have got a lot of central midfield players here and quality ones at that.

"I was shocked to see so many dwindle in terms of fitness and availability and getting an opportunity wasn't something that looked very easy to come by before the last couple of weeks."

Taiwo is now looking to cement his hopes by helping the Leith side to victory at Kilmarnock on Saturday.

Victory at Rugby Park would move seventh-placed Hibs eight points above the team directly below them and put real pressure on St Johnstone for a top-six place.

Taiwo said: "Everyone is fighting for a contract and everyone is fighting to show the manager what they can do.

"I just want to play games and hopefully get us into the top six and see what happens from there."

Source: PA