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Page last updated at 16:41 GMT, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 17:41 UK

Kilmarnock team guide

BBC Sport's guide to Kilmarnock.


How did Killie finish last season?: A miserable campaign, their worst in a decade, saw the Ayrshire men finish in 11th place - a huge drop from fifth in 2006/07.

Kilmarnock

Manager: Jim Jefferies is the longest-serving gaffer in the SPL and is entering his seventh season at Rugby Park. He earned his managerial stripes in a successful stint at Hearts, winning the 1997/98 Scottish Cup, before taking the reins at Rugby Park in February 2002.

Has done remarkably well to guide cash-strapped Killie to three top-six places and a CIS Cup final, but last season's budget cuts and a horrendous plague of injuries took their toll and Jefferies struggled to rouse his dispirited troops.

Captain: Jefferies has stuck by fellow old Hearts boy Gary Locke and, on those occasions when he steers clear of injuries, the wholehearted midfielder is the kind of player who typifies the "gives 110%" cliche.

Scottish top-flight highlights: Killie were Scottish champions in 1965, when the Rugby Park outfit were a force in Europe and well as at home. Since then, they have rarely flirted with the top of the table but were in the mix to finish third in the SPL and nab a Uefa Cup spot two seasons ago, when they let top scorer Kris Boyd go to Rangers in January 2006. This scuppered their hopes of achieving European football and they eventually came in a respectable fifth.

Killie legend: How much would Jim Jefferies love to have marauding striker Paul Wright in his squad today? Wright secured his place in the affections of Killie fans forever when he scored the winning goal in the 1997 Scottish Cup final against Falkirk.

Fifty-eight goals in 148 games, stretched over six years, was a tidy return from the East Kilbride-born honorary Ayrshireman.

Kilmarnock's Craig Bryson
Craig Bryson impressed in his debut season at Rugby Park

Star man: Youngster Craig Bryson has added some spark to Killie's midfield in his debut season and the small, skilful 21-year-old will shoulder a lot of the creative responsibility in the season ahead.

Strengths: Not a lot to rave about last term. But, despite a massive reduction in wage bills, Jefferies still managed to assemble a side that were strong at the back and provided stubborn resistance, especially at home.

Moroccan Mehdi Taouil? and Spaniard David Fernandez are capable of lighting up matches on occasion with some silky magic - but the pair must flash their brilliance on a more consistent basis. And Fernandez has to somehow stay fit.

Weaknesses: Since Steven Naismith followed Boyd to Ibrox last season and Colin Nish made the switch to Hibernian, Killie have toiled in front of goal. Jefferies has drafted in Connor Sammon from Derry City and Airdrie's Allan Russell in an attempt to solve his side's goal drought. Must improve away form, which was dreadful last time round.

606: DEBATE

Our verdict: Rumours abounded that the long-suffering Jefferies was fleeing the nest for pastures new with the frustrations of operating on no budget forcing him to breaking point.

But he's still there, which will please Killie fans who have appreciated his nigh impossible role as a miracle-worker, although the Rugby Park faithful won't be filled with too much optimism about their team's hopes this season. A top-six finish would represent a heroic performance.


see also
Aberdeen team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Aberdeen
Celtic team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Celtic
Dundee United team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Dundee Utd
Falkirk team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Falkirk
Hamilton Academical team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Hamilton
Hearts team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Hearts
Hibernian team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Hibernian
Inverness CT team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Inverness CT
Motherwell team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Motherwell
Rangers team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Rangers
St Mirren team guide
05 Aug 08 |  St Mirren


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