IT'S an unfortunate truism of football that relegation has a lasting impact on more than just the players. Belts are tightened, cloths are cut, and more often than not it's those in the background who suffer the most. 

Less obvious, at least for now, is just how much tighter purse strings will be for clubs who were hardly lighting up cigars with five pound notes before anyone had even heard of Covid. 

This hasn't been lost on Kirk Broadfoot. With Kilmarnock's Premiership future still uncertain, he readily admits the next few weeks could be crucial to the team and the players' livelihoods. 

"I think everyone needs to realise that we are going into every game not knowing where we are going to be next season," the 36-year-old, whose side lie just two points above bottom placed Hamilton Accies, said. "We could get relegated and you could be out of contract.

Glasgow Times: Kyle Lafferty opened the scoring in Saturday's Scottish Cup win Kyle Lafferty opened the scoring in Saturday's Scottish Cup win

"Where do you go from there? I’m not being disrespectful but if you get relegated with Kilmarnock teams are going to be saying, ‘well, if you have been relegated, I don’t want him'. 

"I think players need to realise that they are playing for their livelihoods. And you’ve got to go out into every game as if its your last." 

He added: "All round it has been a strange season, with Covid, and at the beginning of the season we were really unlucky when we were playing well – individual mistakes killed us – and then we had a change of manager [when Tommy Wright replaced Alex Dyer], which happens when you don’t get results." 

It took some time for Wright to turn around results but in recent weeks Killie have looked a totally different beast and on Saturday they secured a place in the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup with a 3-1 win over Montrose. 

The scoreline doesn't tell the full story, however, and it was the part-timers who emerged with a lot of credit, outplaying their Premiership opponents for much of the match. 

"They are a good side and were a credit to the tournament," Broadfoot, whose team face St Mirren in the next round, said. "But I think it was all about getting through for us. Credit to Montrose, they made it difficult for us." 

Crucial to the visitors' fine display was the vibrancy with which teenagers Harry Cochrane and Chris Mochrie took to the field. 

The duo – along with the likes of Russell McLean and Aidan Quinn – impressed at Rugby Park and with Cochrane having made the decision to not extent his contract at parent club Hearts his future is sure to be a talking point during the off-season. 

Whatever happens, his current boss, Stewart Petrie, is sure Cochrane and the cohort of youngsters can play at the very highest level. 

“I’d like think some of the younger players can play at this level," he said. "Harry Cochrane has been out for four or five weeks and I thought he was outstanding.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt Harry can play top-flight football.

“Anyone watching him would see all they need to of Harry.

Glasgow Times: Harry Cochrane is one of the game's up and coming talents Harry Cochrane is one of the game's up and coming talents

“He’s been out over a month but gave us a great level of energy and ability on the ball.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he can play top full-time football.

“Chris Mochrie is only 18-years-old and on loan from Dundee United. Cammy Ballantyne is on loan from St Johnstone.

“Hopefully this is a platform for them to kick on and nobody will be happier than me to see some of our young ones move again and get back playing full-time football."