Monday, May 30, 2016

2015-16 report card - Kilmarnock

Running out of lives
Image result for kilmarnock fc

LEAGUE: 11th, 36pts (2014-15 - 10th, 41pts)
SCOTTISH CUP: Fifth round
LEAGUE CUP: Third round
MOST USED FIRST XI: Jamie MacDonald, Mark O'Hara, Conrad Balatoni, Stuart Findlay, Kevin McHattie, Steven Smith, Craig Slater, Kallum Higginbotham, Greg Kiltie, Rory McKenzie, Josh Magennis,

OVERVIEW: The appointment of Lee Clark as manager in February came too late to save Kilmarnock from the dreaded playoffs, but they finally came up with the goods when it mattered - a 4-0 thumping of Falkirk in the second leg which keeps them up for a 24th consecutive season.  Given the club's financial issues, it was a result which might have saved them from far worse than relegation.  But eleventh was not acceptable and the continued decline in attendances is a reflection of the deep malaise affecting Killie.  Their artificial pitch didn't give them any home advantage; they won just 4 league games at Rugby Park, whilst conceding four goals there on four occasions and five once!  This was the last of their nine lives spent; continue in their current manner and they are doomed next time around.

HIGH POINTS: That glorious win over Falkirk, in front of a large, loud crowd.  Oh, and the day Gary Locke resigned.  Harsh, but fair.

LOW POINTS: Losing 4-0 on opening day at home to Dundee set the tone.  Defeat by the same score three weeks later against Ross County was even worse, on a day where Lee McCulloch had one of the worst 45 minutes experienced by any central defender ever.

STAR MAN: Josh Magennis was a rare shining light, managing double figures in the league for the first time despite often being shunted to the wing to make space for Kris Boyd.

ONE FOR THE FUTURE: Locke's greatest (only?) accomplishment at Kilmarnock was to convince Greg Kiltie to sign a new contract; the young attacker was exuberant in the second half of the campaign.

WASTE OF SPACE: June 2015: Hearts reject Scott Robinson signs a three year deal with Kilmarnock.  March 2016: Robinson released after just 12 appearances.  They didn't win in any of his six starts.

THE BOSS: Lee Clark won only two games out of thirteen before the playoff double-header, but the team were definitely better organized and harder to beat under his tutelage.  He's instigating a huge clearout, and it'll be interesting to see who he manages to rustle up using his contacts down south.  Clark's record at Birmingham and Blackpool wasn't great, but there's been enough evidence so far to suggest that Killie have made a good appointment here.

PROSPECTS FOR NEXT SEASON: These depend entirely on who Clark manages to coax north.  He definitely needs a striker because he can't rely on Kris Boyd as a regular goalscorer.  Holding on to the impressive (but out of contract) Miles Addison would go a long way to helping the defence.  The return of Rangers - whose fans presumably will be allowed to fill all the empty seats when they visit Rugby Park - should help the bank balance a fair bit.

FIRST TEAMERS DEFINITELY LEAVING: Conor Brennan, Lee Ashcroft, Mark Connolly, Stuart Findlay (end of loan), Lee Hodson (end of loan), Darryl Westlake, Julien Faubert, Alex Henshall, Chris Johnston, Craig Slater, Aaron Splaine

Lawrie Spence (LS) has ranted and spouted his ill-informed opinions on Narey's Toepoker since September 2007.  He has a life outside this blog.  Honestly.

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