MARKS OUT OF 10: 4
LEAGUE: 9th, 45pts (2011-12 - 7th, 47pts)
SCOTTISH CUP: Quarter finalsLEAGUE CUP: Second round
OVERVIEW: It was always going to be tough for Kilmarnock to emulate a 2011-12 season which included a League Cup win, but a top six place wasn't an unreasonable expectation. Whilst results and performances were inconsistent - they managed back-to-back SPL wins only once - you'd expect from a side that often fielded several youngsters at the back. However, the bottom line is that they needed only 3 points from their final two games, which were at home to the two poorest teams in the league...and they blew it. Would it be harsh to look on this season as one step backwards?
HIGH POINTS: Killie's first win at Celtic Park in 57 years was not something to be sneezed at - and on the back of a terrific performance too. Paul Heffernan and Cillian Sheridan each scored hat-tricks at Tynecastle on two other super away days.
LOW POINTS: The SPL campaign floundered mainly because of only one home league win in 2013; in the final weeks of the season, the players were hearing far more boos than cheers from the Rugby Park support. As for the League Cup defence, it lasted all of 90 minutes as a shadow side crashed at home to Stenhousemuir.
STAR MAN: Majestic, stylish, graceful, robust and creative; James Dayton's beard was all of these things. The player himself was bloody good as well, and was above all the one who made Kilmarnock tick in the final third. When his lung collapsed after a collision with an opponent in Dingwall at the end of March, Killie's form collapsed with it.
ONE FOR THE FUTURE: Mark O'Hara made his first ever start in that Celtic Park win, aged just 16. The right back looks like a real prospect and is apparently being watched by Everton.
WASTE OF SPACE: The signing of Livingston's Rory Boulding, a decent but hardly special first division player, on a three year contract looked bizarre at the time; I only hope Killie didn't have to pay off the whole two and a half years of the deal that were left when they punted him in January. Boulding got his own back, scoring the crucial goal that put his new club, Dundee United, in the top six at Kilmarnock's expense.
THE BOSS: Look, Kenny Shiels is clearly very capable - his achievements last season are testament to that. His willingness to blood youngsters is admirable, as is his preference for a passing game. But the Northern Irishman's reputation as a 'rent-a-quote' is irritating, particularly as he spends so much time saying so little of substance. He spent too much time this season serving touchline bans, and picking fights with the SFA and officials, which cannot have done his team any good. Chairman Michael Johnston needs to order his boss to speak only in clichés, and to concentrate on what happens on the pitch - if he gets the message across, he can then bet the club's overdraft on a higher league finish next year.
PROSPECTS FOR NEXT SEASON: The news that Kris Boyd is staying seems like a huge boost. However, I'm not convinced that Boyd has enhanced the team since returning, and whilst he will certainly be good for at least a dozen goals, I worry that Killie have to compromise the way they play to suit him, and will do better as a team with the industry of Heffernan and/or Sheridan up top instead. The departing Dayton will be very difficult to replace. At least Shiels has signed two SPL-quality keepers, ICT's Antonio Reguero and St. Mirren's Craig Samson, to replace Cammy Bell.
FIRST TEAMERS DEFINITELY LEAVING: Cammy Bell (has signed for Rangers), Anssi Jaakola, Kyle Letheren, James Dayton (has signed for Oldham Athletic), Danny Racchi
NOT IN THE MANAGER'S PLANS: none
UNLIKELY TO SIGN NEW DEALS: William Gros