Kilmarnock are the second oldest professional side in Scotland. Founded in 1869, the Rugby Park side boast a proud history, winning the Scottish League, Scottish League Cup and Scottish Cup. They have also participated in all UEFA competitions (European Cup, UEFA Cup and UEFA Cup Winners' Cup) with their biggest game coming in the 1965-1966 edition against eventual winners Real Madrid.
Killie, their nickname, have played in the Scottish top flight every season since they were promoted under Celtic legend Tommy Burns in the 1992-93 campaign. In fact, only Celtic, Aberdeen and Motherwell have played in the division for more consecutive years. However, this is under threat after a poor run of form which sees them languishing 10th in the table, just 1 point above automatic relegation.
The poor run of form prompted former manager Alex Dyer to resign from the club after they forfeited a 2-0 lead against St Johnstone, with the Perthshire Saints going on to win 3-2. Interestingly, the manager who took the reigns was none other than St Johnstone legend Tommy Wright. Wright won the Scottish Cup with the club and was no stranger to a top 6 finish, something that Kilmarnock fans will be hoping he repeats. But it will almost certainly not be this season. With Killie 10 points off Dundee United in 6th and only 9 points to play for, it's now mathematically impossible for the Ayrshire men to make the top 6.
Fortunately for Killie, once the Scottish Premiership splits in two after 33 matches, all the sides in the bottom half will play each other. This means that Kilmarnock will have a chance to pick up some much needed points.
But what has gone wrong for Killie? Part of the problem has been the lack of goalscoring prowess, with the top scorer this season ex-Rangers midfielder Chris Burke with 7 goals. Kilmarnock can't afford to rely on a 36-year-old player who is approaching the end of his career to keep them up. Attackers Nicke Kabamba and Greg Kiltie have both got 5 goals to their name, but the former has been off the boil as of late and has failed to find the back of the net in each of his last 15 matches. The last goal he scored was on 21st November against bottom side Ross County. This prompted Tommy Wright to sign compatriot and Northern Ireland international Kyle Lafferty.
But not everything is bad news. Killie have certainly improved in Wright's last three matches, with only a Ryan Jack stunner separating them from a draw at champions-elect Rangers last week. Former West Brom and Democratic Republic of Congo international Youssouf Mulumbu has the ability to pick a pass out from a mile away, so the Killie faithful will be hoping he can provide the service for Kyle Lafferty to bang in the goals.
With games against teams around them coming up (Hamilton, Ross County and Motherwell), Tommy Wright will be aiming for maximum points. Their next game is on Saturday when they Dundee United at home. They did, however, lose their 8th game in a row when they lost 1-0 to Aberdeen. It will be tough for the visitors but they need to pick up some points if they want to avoid relegation and continue to compete with the best in Scotland.
Standout matches today