Killie kit sponsors are now PUMA. Ian Durrant is signed on a free transfer from Rangers, and (life-long Killie fan) Alan Mahood is signed from Morton.
Club captain Ray Montgomerie is given a testimonial match and almost 7,000 show up to see Killie take on Celtic.
A couple of weeks into the season Ally McCoist is also signed ! Killie knock out Zeljezicar from Bosnia 2-1 on aggregate in the UEFA Cup Bobby Williamson & Co get excellent press for their humanitarian spirits during their European travels, in particular when travelling to Bosnia.
Killie open the season at home to Dundee Utd and goals from Wright & Nevin see them off 2-0. Killie then pick a point at Perth in a 0-0 game, before losing at home to Rangers 1-3. Bunion nets for Killie (right). Killie also lose twice 0-2 to Sigma Olomouc from the Czech Republic, in UEFA
Killie then go on a nine match unbeaten run in the league .
Killie's good run starts when Ally McCoist hits a "Hat-Trick" against Hearts, and is then re-called to the Scotland squad (along with Durrant). Both play representing Kilmarnock.
Killie open Sept losing to Airdrie at home in the League Cup. Killie then play at Parkhead and pick up a 1-1 draw with Jerome Vareille netting for Killie. Then another away point is secured at Motherwell in a dull 0-0 encounter. Killie finish the month with 2 wins ; at home to Dundee 2-1 (McCoist & McGowne) and up north at Aberdeen 1-0, thanks to a Paul Wright penalty. Williamson does NOT get "manager of the month" despite being unbeaten in Sept! Pat Nevin leaves Killie to join Motherwell.
After being unbeaten in Sep Killie stay unbeaten in Oct also! Two more wins and 2 more draws are recorded. Home draws with the Pars 0-0, and St Johnstone 2-2 (Roberts & an OG) with a 2-0 (McGowne & Vareille) away win at Dundee Utd between the home draws. To finish Oct a fine 2-0 home win over Celtic is also recorded, with Roberts & Mitchell doing the damage. Killie are 2nd in the Premier League only 1 point behind Rangers.
Kilie's good run comes to an end at Tynecastle with a narrow 1-2 loss, with Wright again on the scoresheet. Then 2 draws, 1-1 (Jerome) at Dens followed by a disappointing 0-0 home scoreless draw with Motherwell. Killie do fine their form to finish Nov with an emphatic 3-0 win Dunfermline. Ian Durrant netting twice along with a rare Gary Holt goal.
The fine Pars result is followed up with a 4-0 demolition of Aberdeen at Rugby Park to open Dec. Bully netting twice, Jerome & Bunion from the spot accounting for Killie's tally.
So with 5 different scorers in their last 2 matches, and 2 clean sheets Killie headed off to Ibrox for a possible 1st place showdown with Rangers. A win would see Killie move into a 1st place tie. In a hard-fought affair Killie lost 0-1. The match will be remembered by most Killie fans as the end of Jerome Vareille. JV took a nasty tumble (some say a dive!) and landed awkwardly on his shoulder. Jerome was never the same player for Killie after his 8 week layoff! Killie finish up the year with 2 fine home wins; Dundee Utd 2-0 (Wright (above) & Durrant Pen) & Hearts 1-0 thanks to a Gary Holt goal.
Killie go into the Premier League winter "shutdown" with a fantastic 2-1 win at Motherwell (above) on New Years Day. The shutdown hurts Killie as they suffer at the hands of Ayr in the Scottish Cup, and their 3 week layoff proved costly as we lost 0-3. A torrid affair, with little good football, and lots of flying tackles saw Killie's Somerset "jinx" continue, despite being the better side for much of the match. This result clearly rattled Killie's confidence also, and they would not "win again" till mid-March, and only 2 points would be taken out of a possible 15! Killie ended Jan with a drab home draw 0-0 with Dundee.
Killie's dismal Feb begins with a 1-2 loss at Aberdeen with Mahood on the scoresheet, with Feb's only Killie goal. Then it was a 0-1 loss at Parkhead, Celtic's only win over us for season 1998-99. Killie finish Feb with a 0-5 thrashing at home by Rangers, in a match that will be remembered, as being Ray Montgomerie's last for Kilmarnock. Clearly there had been post match friction between Monty & Williamson after the match.
Kilmarnock are now a shadow of the side that went to Ibrox as title-contenders, just 2 short months earlier. Killie had now slipped to 3rd in the SPL, and a UEFA Cup spot (for 3rd place) was being chased by St Johnstone who were only 4 points back in 4th.
Killie start what will be a 5 match unbeaten run with 0-0 draw at home to the Pars, then it was 1-0 win at Perth, with Holt notching the winner. Killie then steal a home point off of Celtic with a gutty performance in a 0-0 draw.
The Celtic draw gave Killie a lift and their April form improves back to their earlier first half of the season form. An entertaining 2-2 draw at Tynecastle ( Henry & McCoist) is followed by a fine 4-2 win over the Dons at Rugby Park, in front of over 9,000 fans. Hoodie, Gus, & teenager McCutcheon twice were on target for the Blues. Killie then recorded on April 17th, their largest win in the SPL a 6-0 defeat of Dunfermline at East End Park. Henry (2), Bully, Jerome, Durrant & Coisty doing the damage. A UEFA Cup spot now looked "in the bag".......BUT...... only 3 points would be picked up from their last 5 matches. Killie go on to fall flat on their faces 1-2 at Dens Park, with Innes scoring Killie's only goal.
To start May Killie did everything they could, in a 0-1 home loss to Motherwell. This was followed with a drab 0-0 draw with Dundee Utd.
Killie would then host St Johnstone in a match that would decide their Euro fate! The club announces a ticked discount scheme, and the Saints match attracts over 15,000 fans, a record for the "new" Rugby Park (not inc Old Firm matches). In an end to end affair Mark Roberts opened the scoring, but Killie fail to hang on as the match runs out a 1-1 draw. Killie will now need a win at Ibrox against Champions Rangers to control their own Euro fate. A 1-1 draw is obtained thanks to a Kevin McGowne header, but it is not enough as Killie finish 4th in the SPL. Killie finished with 14 wins & 14 draws from 36 games. Kilmarnock do win the Scottish "Fair Play" award, and subsequently qualify for the UEFA Cup.
Kilmarnock had no reason to be embarrassed about accepting UEFA's backdoor pass because they were worthy of the place, having completed their best-ever season in the top division.
Killie had scored more goals, conceded fewer than ever before, (the fewest in the SPL in fact) and amassed their highest number of points in the big league.
During this time Killie Director Ian Welsh is voted into office in the new Scottish parliment, and Killie spend half a million pounds to upgrade their Rugby Park playing surface. It is also announced that Captain Ray Montgomerie's contract will not be renewed for the following season. In June Killie fans found out their 1999-2000 UEFA Cup fate, as Killie did qualified through their "Fair Play" standing !