Defender, Kilmarnock FC (Scottish Premiership)
On Loan from Queens Park Rangers
"Born in America but a Finland youth international, Niko Hamalainen has become an early fans’ favourite at Rugby Park. The left back’s pace and determined style of play has helped him settle in well following his loan move from Queens Park Rangers. Equally able to play in midfield and central defensive, Niko has already experienced life in Major League Soccer with Los Angeles FC." - Kilmarnock FC
QPR full-back Hamalainen has made an impressive start with Kilmarnock
Scottish Premiership News, September 19, 2019
Since moving from QPR to Kilmarnock late in the summer transfer window, Niko Hamalainen has enjoyed a great start to life in Ayrshire. He has featured in three matches so far, impressing in every one as he looks to build up some much needed first-team experience.
The SPFL have also recognised his great start, naming him in their Team of the Week following an excellent match against Hibs.
Hamalainen is filling a big Kilmarnock hole admirably
Since arriving at Rugby Park, Killie have notched seven points out of nine and are yet to concede a goal with the Loftus Road full-back out on the park. Greg Taylor left Kilmarnock for Celtic on deadline day, which piled pressure on the new left-back. Hamalainen has been handed the pretty big task of filling the void Taylor has left.
A Big Ask...
To his credit, the full-back has managed the task well so far. Doubts were raised over his experience, but he has shown excellent pace, calmness and shrewd defensive skills.
Hamalainen faces his biggest challenge yet when Killie travel to face Celtic on Sunday. Against James Forrest most likely, the QPR loanee will be playing against high standards he’s never faced before. It’ll be a tough challenge for him, but if his opening Killie appearances have shown anything, Hamalainen should be able to handle it.