McKeown prepared for second season

  • Last Updated: August 2 2012, 15:44 BST

Kilmarnock left-back Rory McKeown believes he is more prepared for his second season in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League after being forced to "grow up quickly".

Rory McKeown: I've had to grow up quickly

The 19-year-old has played 19 first-team games but admits he was not fully ready for the SPL when he joined from Ipswich last summer.

The Northern Ireland Under-21 international is looking to make a bright start to this season against Dundee at Rugby Park on Saturday.

McKeown said: "Before I signed I had only really played youth-team games at Ipswich. "I came up here and truthfully it was a bit of a culture shock.

"I was playing against people who were physically stronger and mentally smarter. Playing against players I wasn't used to, the likes of Ivan Sproule who is so quick. I had to learn to deal with that quickly.

"Then against the likes of James Forrest, who is a top-class player. "When you're playing in the SPL you come up against different types of opponents - players who want to kick you, players who want to pass round you and players who will just go at you.

"You have to learn quickly and grow up quickly and I think I did that. Hopefully that stands me in good stead this season."

McKeown has seen fellow left-back Ben Gordon leave following his loan spell while Garry Hay needs a knee operation, but he has new competition in former St Mirren player Jeroen Tesselaar.

"He is a good player and he has impressed us all in training," McKeown said. "He's a strong lad and a good footballer.

"It's hopefully going to be a bit of a competition between me and him but it's competition I'm looking forward to."