Season Diary 2008-2009

July 2008

Russell Joins From Airdrie Utd

The Killie first team squad reported back for training on July 3, flying out to their Italian training camp at Il Ciocco for a week-long stay. Killie go into their training camp, without Gary Wales & Paul Di Giacomo, Airdrie Utd), who were not offered new terms for the 08-09 upcoming season.  Killie target Abdul Osman (ex-Gretna) signs for Northampton, after failing an initial medical with Ayrshire's Finest. Some positive news was that the club confirmed that Moroccan midfield maestro Mehdi Taouil  has signed a new contract which will keep him at Rugby Park until 2011. Also in June Simon Ford makes his International debut for Jamaica  in the Reggae Boyz 5-1 win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Killie make inquiries into Linfield's forward Peter Thompson but nothing comes it, midfielder Craig Rocastle (ex-Port Vale) has a try-out, but manager Jefferies decides to keep his coffers for a striker, as he feels Killie have good coverage in the middle of the park.

Killie's first piece of real bad news for the season, was that newly signed striker, Allan Russell had to return early from Italy, for  treatment on a twisted knee, and would now be out for about an 8 week period.

Killie then play 3 away pre-season matches: Airdrie Utd (3-0, Danny (2) & Bekenfowler), Alloa Ath (1-1, Anson) & Stenhousemuir. Killie then hosted Wolves, and lost 0-3, QPR were beaten 1-0 (thanks to trialist goal from Pascali. Manuel would later sign a 3 deal with Ayrshire's finest, joining from relegated Parma). Killie finished up the pre-season with a 0-2 loss at home to Coventry. Killie do complete a loan deal (till Dec) for the Sky Blues Donovan Simmonds to complete their squad for opening day. Complete Pre-Season Recap's- Here 

Aug 2008

Killie Get Off To A Flier Vs Hibs

Killie opened August in a month that would see them go unbeaten, and un-scored upon, and also have manager Jim Jefferies pick up the SPL Manager of the Month award. Killie picked up their first win in their home SPL opener over Hibs, 1-0. In a spirited end to end match, it took a late Jamie Hamill (left) strike who was just on as a sub, to give the home side the victory. David O'Leary is lost for the season with the clumsy Colin Nish being the culprit in dislocating David's shoulder. Sammon & Pascali, make their Killie debuts against Hibs too! Killie followed this result up in a disappointing 0-0 draw at Love Street, where Mehdi hit the bar in the closing stages, but Killie were never worth all 3 points. Then it was unbeaten Accies who came calling and Killie again prevailed 1-0 with Manuel Pascali heading home right on half-time. Pasca was now fast becoming a cult legend with the Rugby Park faithful. In midweek CIS Cup action it took second half goals from Fright & Bryson to see off Brechin 2-0, before the end of the month clash at Tannadice. Allan Russell makes his Killie debut also! Killie then went top (for a day) of the SPL, with a fine "smash & grab" 2-0 win over the Arabs. Gavin Skelton (making his first start), headed Killie to a half-time lead, before Danny opened his account for the season after a well engineered piece of play from Taouil.

Killie finish the month in 2nd place (tied for 1st) in the SPL with 10 points from 4 matches. They had scored 6 goals (all by different players) in 5 Aug matches, without conceding. 

Sept 2008

Big Connor's First Goals Sink the Dons

After Killie's fine August SPL start, the fixture makers threw out back to back "Old Firm" matches, and a trip to Inverness. Killie would take ZERO points in Sept and fall from 2nd to 5th. For the record Killie fell 1-2 at Ibrox, after Fright had given Killie a shock lead at the half before a certain Mr Boyd double sank Killie. Killie then lost at home for the first time since Feb to Celtic 1-3 with Medhi scoring a late consolation penalty. Again Fright makes the headlines with a "slap" at Nakamura. As usual the Old Firm are award three penalties against the Killie.

Probably the most disappointing Aug result was the loss at Caley, where Killie went down 1-3, after Big Connor had given Killie the lead. Killie go on to self-destruct picking up 6 cards, (one red Beckenfowler) and concede yet another penalty. Killie had gone into this match having thumped Aberdeen 4-2 at Rugby Park in the League Cup, just 4 days earlier, with high expectations. On target Vs the Dons were Sammon (2), Ferdy & Mehdi. Killie then draw Celtic at home in the League Cup Quarter Finals to be played on Oct 29th, and will be screened live on BBC Scotland.

Killie finish the month in 5th place in the SPL with 10 points from 7 matches.

Oct 2008

Medhi Opens the Scoring at Tynecastle

Killie after an SPL winless Sept, come out with a cup-tie spirit at Tynecastle and out battle 3rd placed Hearts to a deserved 2-1 victory. Taouil opened the scoring (above) with a "Beckham-Eske" wonder freekick, and Bryson netted the winner, after good passing work with sub Simmonds. Killie pick-up 6 more yellow cards (that's 12 in two weeks!). Another point of note, this was the first time in some 7 odd years that neither Garry Hay (injured) or Jamie Fowler (suspended) featured for Killie. This allowed JJ to name new Killie "cult-hero" Manuel "Pasca" Pascali as Killie capt for the first time.

Killie go into the international break in 3rd place, and will host Motherwell on Oct 18th. Killie do go on and pick up the 3 points verses a 10 man Well 1-0 thanks to a late Bryson goal. This win was the to be the last in 5 outings for Killie. Killie then drop 3 points at home to lowly Falkirk 1-2, with sub Simmonds scoring a late consolation. Killie go on to crash out of the CIS Cup at home to Celtic 1-3, with Danny on target. Invincible however would the be lost for some 6 weeks. Strachan complains to the press about Killie's "rough" play, as JJ/BB compliment Killie's attitude.

Killie finish the month in 3rd place in the SPL with 16 points from 10 matches.

Nov 2008

Ferdy After Scoring Against the Arabs

Killie go into a busy 6 SPL match November in 3rd place, pick up only 3 points and fall all they way to 7th. Killie's only win came in an unlikely manner, 2-0 against the Arabs, who were on a 10 match unbeaten run, at the time. For the record Killie lost 0-1 at Pittodrie, 0-4 (with all 4 goals coming in the 2nd half, 2 by a certain Mr Boyd, after Combe had saved a first half penalty off of him) at home to Rangers, and 0-3 at Parkhead. JJ certainly caught the press's attention by not fielding Ferdy or Hammy in his Parkhead lineup," resting" them for the Arabs visit. Interestingly enough both scored (Hammy's was a pen) in Killie's 2-0 win... go figure!

Killie finish up November with 2 "winnable" fixtures Vs Caley (H) & Accies (A). However two one goal losses are racked up, the first at the hands of Caley at home, where a Combe "gaff" gifted a 2nd goal to Inverness leaving Killie an uphill task, Sub Gibson scoring a late consolation, as Killie went down 1-2. Allan Russell did make his home debut, replacing the injured Sammon. To make matters worse Mehdi blasted over a late penalty, that cost Killie a draw. A real "6 pointer" then loomed as Killie went to new Douglas Park to play bottom of the league Hamilton. In a game Killie certainly should have taken something from, they went on to lose 0-1. Rascale made his first start (having replaced the injured Combe the prior week at the half). Sub Simmonds & Ford had great opportunities to help Killie pick up a worthy point, however it was not to be.

Killie finish the month in 7th place in the SPL with 19 points from 16 matches. Killie would fail to break back into the "top 6" for the remainder of the season.

Dec 2008

Make Shift Killie Do The Business At Fir Park

Killie were scheduled to host Aberdeen on Dec 6th, but the match was postponed due to a frozen pitch, and Killie get a "rap" on the fingers from the SPL. Killie then travel to Fir Park, for a Monday night Setanta match, missing Bryson, Taouil, Ford, Gibson & Lilley. Killie move Pasca to sweeper, and give Allan Russell his first start. After losing Danny, Pascali heads home to give Killie a deserved half time lead before Russell netted a fine acute volley for his first SPL goal, as a make-shift Killie ran out worthy 2-0 winners.
Killie next hosted the Buddies and fell 0-1, and were too predictable in trying to break down the Saints. It is also confirmed that Killie would travel to Somerset to play in the 3rd Rd, of the Scottish Cup.

Killie closed out 2008 in style, in a game that saw the yo-yo Killie troops headed off to Easter Rd, with fans uncertain of which team would show up. To many's surprise, Killie produced what manager Jefferies describes as "Killie's finest performance in his 7 year reign". Up 2-0 (Danny & Russell) Killie concede 2 penalties in the space of 5 min's, and limped into the dressing room knotted at 2-2, with only 10 men, as Combe saw red, during the 2nd penalty incident with Nish.

Killie came out and got second half goals from Invincibile & Hay, with a fantastic work rate and team spirit, as they went on to record a stunning 4-2 win. Rascale also did well as Combe's replacement, allowing Taouil to be replaced for the short-handed Killie.

Killie finish the month in 7th place in the SPL with 25 points from 19 matches.

Jan 2009

Killie Prevail Against A*r In The Cup

Killie opened 2009, with a come from behind point at Falkirk. Killie started with Rascale in goals, and were also missing Danny, & Taouil. A clever 2nd half substitution replacing Hamill for Bryson got Killie going. Ferdy notched Killie's leveller, as the Bairns clung on for a point, in a 1-1 draw. Killie played in a new 3rd white kit for the match, which got decent reviews.

Killie then played A*r Utd on 10/1/9 in the Scot Cup 3rd rd, and drew 2-2 with A*r notching a late goal to force a replay. Killie twice led through Pascali & Bryson, and should have put the match away. however Russell missed from the spot!. Over 9,000 watched the match, with well over 3,000 coming up from Killie. The replay would then become a Thursday night Setanta match, so Killie picked up a TV windfall despite not advancing at the first attempt over their Ayrshire rivals. Prior to cup match both Combe & Invincible signed new contracts to stay on at Killie! Combe however was not fit enough to feature Vs A*r.

Killie would now play 4 straight home games on the trot. Two home losses to the Dons 1-2 (after Russell scored the opener), and Hearts 0-2, saw Killie go into the A*r replay facing a 5th consecutive home loss, something Killie had never done in their 140 odd year old history.

Fortunately Killie bounced back to prevail 3-1 in front of 11,563 at Rugby Park. Down by a goal at the half, and reduced to only 10 men, things look ominous for Ayrhire's Finest, but a Simon Ford double, and Taouil strike sent Killie through to the next round. Fernandez did see Red for an elbow, as Killie went on to outplay the Dishonest Men, a man short.

Killie then complete a miserable trio of home losses in SPL action losing 0-1 to the Accies, in a dreadful Sunday affair, where JJ told the press "We deserved nothing from the match"

To finish out a 7 match January, Killie travelled to Paisley, to be the Buddies first opponents in their new stadium and pick up a creditable point in a 1-1 draw. Scoring for Killie was debut man Kevin Kyle, signed on a "free" from Coventry City, to an 18 mo contract. Alan Combe saved a penalty (& could have seen red after fouling Dargo), and then flaps at a cross to let the Buddies score late on. Manager Jefferies was missing from the sidelines, as he had minor surgery.

Killie finish the month in 9th place in the SPL with 27 points from 24 matches.

Feb 2009

Hooky & Co Help Killie Pick Up First Home Point in 3 Months

Killie open Feb at Caley in the Cup, and let down their almost 1,000 travelling fans (in the mere 2,500 odd crowd) 0-2, on a cold snowy winter Saturday. Controversy surrounded the match as Killie could have been awarded a penalty, only to have the officials be un-sure of the markings of the pitch due to the snow covering the penalty box lines. (JJ would argue this should have been a reason for the match to be called off!). New boy Kyle see's red, as 10 man Killie go tamely out of the Cup to a newly appointed Terry Butcher's Caley side. Inverness are clearly now becoming a "bogey" team for Killie! To make things worse Jamie Fowler, breaks his foot, and would now be out for several weeks.

Prior to the Hibs home match, luckless Allan Russell does his knee again for a 3rd time since joining Killie, and he would now be out for the remainder of the season (lucky him?). Invincible too, was missing for Killie in the highlands, and he would join Fernandez & Kyle (both suspended) in missing out on the Hibs match. Killie put in a terrific shift, against Hibernian, but go in a goal down (to a deflected shot!) at the half. Killie do not quit, and eventually get a great equaliser from Jamie Hamill to pick their first home point in THREE MONTHS, as the match ends at 1-1. The recalled Connor Sammon, had a luckless display, and could have won it for Killie in the dying moments but it was not to be.

Next up was a visit to Ibrox, and despite opening the scoring though Hamill, Killie go down 1-3 conceding 3 goals in a 6 min period that did them in. Killie now have fallen to 10th place in the SPL, and are only 6 points clear of the relegation spot.

Mar 2009

Killie In Goalless Stalemate With Well

With the 2010 World Cup qualifiers resuming Killie would only play 3 SPL fixtures that month. Killie open the month with a home midweek fixture against Celtic. Killie hold the Celts for 80+ min's before falling 1-2, in a showing that most would have not denied them a point from. Invincibile was on the scoresheet to pull Killie even. After the layoff and with 2 weeks to prepare, Killie head north to play a rejuvenated Inverness team (who had picked up 9 points from their previous 4 SPL matches). Again Killie  fall 1-2  and rack up their fourth loss of the season to Caley. Ford pulling 1 back before the half, was all Killie could muster. Combe was badly at fault for Caley's 2nd goal, after failing to punch clear a routine cross. Killie close out March, picking up their only point for the month in a Saturday lunchtime matchup with Motherwell in a 0-0 home draw, that again Killie probably should taken more from.

Killie finish the month in 9th place in the SPL with 30 points from 30 matches.

In late March former Killie player and die-hard fan Blair Millar  released this statement: "Following recent discussions on killiefc.com a number of concerned fans met up on Wednesday 25th March. The aim was to set up a fans action group that will look at how the fans can help the club through its current Plight".   Kilmarnock Fans For Change would become this groups name.

April 2009

Kyle Bags Killie Hat Trick Vs The Bairns

Killie fall further into the relegation mire with a 1-3 loss at Tynecastle after Danny heads the opening goal. Pascali picks up another yellow card and is subbed off. JJ then benches Pascali for the next 5 matches in an attempt to avoid him picking up a 6 match suspension. JJ tells the players to start doing their talking "on the pitch, instead of the lacklustre performances of late.  On the player front Steven Old  from New Zealand, is granted a work permit and joins Killie through 2011. Injured Jamie Fowler signs a 2 year extension, and Alan "Magic" Johnston learns he will need to make a decision on an operation to have any chance of resuming his career. 

Killie go into their final home match of the season prior to the "split" knowing a home loss at the hand of the Bairns, would see them fall to the bottom of the SPL. Having not won an SPL match in 2009, and not at home since the 2-0 Nov 15th 2008,  Arabs match the pressure was clearly on JJ & Killie! How would Killie to respond to this gut-check match? Killie come out with all guns blazing and a "cup-tie" mentality, and win all the battles all over the field. JJ drops both Pasca & Ferdy, and brings in Skelly, Clancy and Bryson (from suspension). The rest as they say is history as Kevin Kyle bags a "hat-trick" in Killie's fine 3-0 win over bottom the league Falkirk. The win put Killie 6 points clear of the Bairns (and 8th position) with 6 SPL matches remaining in the season.

Prior to the Bairns match the Kilmarnock Fans For Change group handed out fliers to fans to encourage as many as possible to get more involved in how their club was/is being run.

Killie close out the "regular season" away to Dundee Utd, and go on the pick up their 7th point of the season against the Arabs in a 0-0 draw. Kyle missing out through a hamstring injury that went un-reported prior to the match.

Killie finish the month in 8th place in the SPL with 34 points from 33 matches, 6 points above bottom club Falkirk.

May 2009

Kyle Bags 4 Goals In May To Win 7 Points For Killie!

Killie start their final 5 post-split fixtures with a 3rd straight 1 goal loss at the hands of Hamilton. Hamill scores a late penalty, but Killie put in a woeful performance, in a 1-2 loss. To make matters worse Killie would next host Falkirk, and a loss would see Killie go to the bottom of the SPL. Suspended Kevin Kyle is named by Jefferies as the first name to be on the team sheet for the Bairns clash.

Kyle and Willie Gibson came in for the injured Danny Invincibile and David Fernandez, as Killie outplayed the Bairns in the first half but Darren Barr headed them in front 11 minutes after the break. Kyle was the man that pulled Killie even with a fine volley, to share the spoils in a 1-1 nervy affair, where both teams had decent penalty claims waived aside.

Killie then hosted the Buddies, in a mid-week fixture, where both teams needed to avoid a loss to stay off the bottom the league. Killie up their game and put a real battling shift and again Kevin Kyle is Killie's salvation netting 2 more goals. Jamie Fowler replaces an injured Craig Bryson for his first action in almost 3 months. But as usual Killie do things the hard way and concede a 90th min goal, and need the ref to (correctly) chalk off (pic left) an injury time Buddies leveller, as Killie went on to pick up the 3 points in a 2-1 win.

Killie then host their "bogey" team Inverness, who had beaten them FOUR times already in season 08-09. A draw would ensure both team's SPL safety. And a draw looked like the outcome till "that man again" Kyle netted, perhaps against the run of play to give Killie a narrow 1-0 home win.  Pascali make his first appearance in over a month, as an 80th min sub, and manages to pick up his league leading 13th yellow card of the season.  This was the first time since August that Killie had picked up "back to back" home wins. The 3 points ensured Killie's SPL safety, and an 8th place finish. Also on display was Killie's new home 09-10 home kit, and was very well received by the majority of the Killie Faithfull.

Clearly the acquisition of Kevin Kyle, and his season ending form had saved Killie's bacon! The big man scored 7 goals in his last 4 starts (all at Rugby Park, as KK missed the Arabs (A) & Accies (A) matches).

These invaluable goals resulted in Killie picking up 10 (out of 12) points, and obviously were the difference in Killie being an SPL club for season 2009-10.

It was also a joy to see him getting his dues and enjoying his football again.

Prior to the Caley match Blair Millar  resigns from the Kilmarnock Fans For Change initiative, as the group plans to soldier on without it's founder.

Killie travelled to Fir Park to play match 38 on May 23rd to close-out season 2009 -10. Killie completed a fine "double" over Motherwell at Fir Park en route to taking 10 out of a possible 12 points from the Steelmen. A 2-1 win is picked up with a 90th min wonder goal from Mehdi Taouil strike, after a great back-heel from Ferdy. Killie made 7 changes (inc Kyle & Combe) from the team that beat Caley. Cammy Bell gets his debut in goal, and a rare start for Flannigan. Danny also returned (after missing 4 weeks) to opening the scoring (his 7th of the season). To make things more interesting Killie had to replace Murray, and Pascali after their clash of heads. Then the in-form David Lilley season was ended after leaving with a wrist injury.

An estimated 800 odd fans many in a season ending party spirit were hassled all day by Fir Park's security, as they attempted to put a damper on their day, including not allowing the Killie players to launch their tops into the crowd at the end of the match.
Killie also probably won't be shedding too many tears over bogey team Inverness's relegation either as they dropped into Division 1, having picked up 3 SPL wins over Killie. Rangers win the title by 4 points as Celtic fail to score in 3 of their last 4 matches.

Jim Jefferies Closing Comments on the 08-09 Season... "People said we did not have the bottle or the character or the type of player to get us through it if we got dragged into the relegation battle, Well, we have shut a few people up. We finished with three wins and that does not happen often in the Premier League. We have been better than our finishing position in the league this season." .

Killie finish the season in 8th place in the SPL with 44 points from 38 matches. 

Season 2008-2009 Form Guide

2008 - 2009








First 11








Second 11








Third 11








Post Split








Final 5








Season Totals









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