Kilmarnock close to Murphy deal
Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels is confident of signing freed Carlisle defender Peter Murphy.
The 32-year-old is leaving Brunton Park after 12 years and Shiels is close to a deal.
The Kilmarnock manager, who is also aiming to sign goalkeeper Craig Samson from Saturday's Clydesdale Bank Premier League opponents St Mirren, said: "We have Peter Murphy from Carlisle. I am confident we can cross the line with that one.
"He is an experienced left centre-back who has over 400 games for Carlisle behind him.
"He is a top player. He fits our needs and he has the quality as well."
If he completes his deal, Murphy will be able to help nurture 19-year-old centre-back Lee Ashcroft, who made his debut for Killie in last weekend's 3-2 win over Dundee.
The teenager followed that by signing a new three-year contract and then scored on his first start on Wednesday in the 3-1 defeat by Hibernian.
Ashcroft said: "First of all I was absolutely delighted at getting offered my new contract and to get my first start the other night was absolutely amazing.
"It was the best experience of my life. I was obviously a bit gutted about the result. When I got my goal to make it 1-1 I thought we had a chance to go on and win it.
"To lose the game so late was a bit disappointing but we will learn from the mistakes and hopefully improve on that."
Ashcroft, who is in his third season at Rugby Park, is encouraged by Shiels' attitude to promoting from the youth ranks.
"He has been at all the under-20s games this season and we had a great team," the defender said.
"We have done really well, unfortunately we lost in the semi-final of the cup, but we have an excellent team and the gaffer has given all of us a chance.
"When you step up to the first-team training there is more intensity.
"But you work hard and you enjoy it playing with experienced players. If you make a mistake they will tell you what you have done wrong.
"It's a great experience playing with people who have been in the game for a lot of years."
One of those players is former Rangers striker Kris Boyd, who has been passing on tips in training.
"It's brilliant because when I was younger I used to watch him on telly," Ashcroft said.
"It's a great experience. When you see his movement you know what you are going to come up against when you play a game.
"It's excellent because he helps you as well. If he makes a run he will tell you to watch what he's doing."
Kilmarnock have also announced that another 19-year-old, striker Ross Davidson, had followed Ashcroft in signing a three-year deal.
Killie are without right-back Ross Barbour against St Mirren.
Barbour suffered ankle ligament damage during the midweek defeat by Hibernian and will take up to eight weeks to recover.
Manuel Pascali, Rory McKeown and James Dayton remain on the sidelines ahead of the meeting at Rugby Park.
St Mirren have Kenny McLean and Paul McGowan back in the fold.
McLean returns from suspension while McGowan is available again after missing last weekend's draw against Aberdeen with a virus.
Striker Steven Thompson will not be risked as he is one booking away from a suspension.