Ross Millen has not had to worry about awkward conversations across the dinner table with his father Andy during Kilmarnock’s wretched run of results – because they hardly speak at the best of times.
The 26-year-old defender still lives at home with his parents but the father-son relationship with Killie assistant boss Andy is based on a code of silence.
And that suits the younger Millen just fine as he tries to take his mind off Killie’s current troubles.
Alex Dyer’s team have won just twice in their last 10 games but Millen is glad he does not have to take his work worries home with him.
Asked how relations with his dad were going, he said with a wry grin: “It’s horrible when it’s going well and it’s horrible when we’re not winning.
“If we win a game, I won’t speak to him. If we lose games, I won’t speak to him. That’s just the way it is.
“We have a thing where I’ll go, ‘How you doing? Alright, blah, blah, blah.’ I’ll have my dinner and that’s me.
“That’s me being honest with you. And I think he’d say the exact same thing.
“Win or lose, we hardly speak about football.
“We’re quite professional that way – and I’ve always been slaughtered by him no matter what, so that’s just the norm.”
The grumbles from the Kilmarnock faithful have grown louder and louder in recent weeks.
Thankfully, the tough upbringing Millen endured means he has a thick skin.
“I understand you’re going to get criticism when things don’t go well – that’s football,” said the former Queen’s Park full-back.
“Does my relationship with my dad help me deal with that? Oh yeah.
“He’s not as bad as he used to be. When I was younger I used to get it very, very tight.
“I think that’s why I’m a bit calmer and can deal with things now, because it was pretty bad when I was younger.
“Not in a bad way – it was just that I had to deal with the pressure and the standards that he set for me.
“But it’s not just my dad. When I came to Kilmarnock you had Steve Clarke and Alex Dyer, they all have standards that have to be met.
“I wouldn’t have got this far without that fear factor, if you want to put it that way.”
Killie – who sit just four points above the relegation zone – welcome Betfred Cup finalists St Johnstone to Rugby Park on Saturday and Millen hopes a win could spark an upturn in results.
He said: “Listen, we’re all hurting because we’ve not picked up more points. We’re all quick to get on each other’s backs but we’re not too far away from a win that will take us up the table again.
“You can look at it and say we’re also only four points off the top six. We’ve got a lot of games coming up over the next six weeks and we could pick those points up quite quickly.
“I understand people’s frustrations because we’re not winning enough games but things can change very quickly.
“We’re not far away from getting that result that we need.”
Kilmarnock have confirmed that two members of the playing staff tested positive for Covid-19 and are self-isolating at home.
A statement from the club read: “In accordance with all Government and JRG guidance, we have been in touch with all of the relevant authorities to make them aware of the situation and they are satisfied that all protocols have been followed.
“All other squad members and staff were tested yesterday (Thursday) and all have returned negative results.
“Our Premiership match with St Johnstone tomorrow is unaffected and we wish those affected a speedy recovery.”