FOR a man so used to being thrust front and centre, it's gone a little under the radar that Kyle Lafferty is having one of the best seasons of his career. 

The Northern Irishman has transformed Kilmarnock's fortunes, his ten goals arresting their worrying decline and his larger than life character reviving a dressing room which for so long looked to be sleepwalking its way to the Championship. 

A hat-trick in Wednesday's crucial win over Dundee United – a first for a Killie player at Rugby Park since 2009 – helped the team take another stride towards Premiership safety, lifting them out of the relegation play-off zone ahead of the final three games.

With the livelihoods of everyone at the club at risk – as Kirk Broadfoot warned just days ago – it's a good thing they have found a man ready to step up and deliver. 

“To be honest, I enjoy the pressure and I always have done, ever since I first start playing football as a kid," Lafferty, 33, said. "Whenever the odds are against me, I’ll probably perform – I’ve already done that for club and country so bring it on.

Glasgow Times: Kyle Lafferty's career has taken him to the likes of Rangers, Hearts, and Sunderland Kyle Lafferty's career has taken him to the likes of Rangers, Hearts, and Sunderland

“That’s ten goals now and getting into double figures so quickly after coming here is obviously good for me on a personal level.

"But none of that will matter if we don’t stay in this division. 

"That’s what I’ve been brought here to do – to make sure we’re in the Premiership next season – and, until that’s done, my goals won’t have counted for anything.

“Of course, it’s a psychological boost when you look at the league table and you’re not in the bottom two. 

"We had Ross County here a couple of weeks ago and knew that if we beat them it would be in our own hands but we ended up drawing 2-2 after being ahead twice so they stayed a point above us.

“So coming off the pitch on Wednesday night with all three points and then finding out the results in Hamilton and County’s games was a tremendous feeling. 

"It’s definitely in our hands now, although we know we still need to brush up on some of our recent displays because, in a couple of the games prior to United, we’d picked up results without being bang at it and we need to be better than that." 

During the course of his career, many monikers have been labelled at Lafferty. Nomadic is probably the most family friendly but it's the one he's keen to shake off now he's in a place where he feels loved with a manager, Tommy Wright, he has nothing but respect for. 

“Obviously, I don’t want to be known as someone who just moves around saving clubs," Lafferty, who is at the 13th club of his career, said. "It’s a nice feeling but I’d rather be with a team from the start of the season and enjoy the bigger picture, helping them into the top six or whatever." 

Lafferty added: “I knew the manager before I came here, having worked with him in the Northern Ireland set-up. I’ve always had a good relationship with Tommy – I can have a bit of banter with him and he enjoys a bit with me as well.

“He makes me feel wanted and he’s put a lot of trust in me, which is a big thing. I had a similar relationship with Michael O’Neill when he managed the national team and he got the best out of me as well. The more trust a manager puts in me, the more I’ll repay him.

“I would 100% be prepared to stay here if we can stay up. I’m happy here, I’m near my family and I’m staying in my house so it ticks all the boxes. 

"Once we’re certain to avoid relegation I’ll be more than happy to sit down with the owners and the manager to work something out."