Kilmarnock F.C.

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Full name Kilmarnock Football Club
Nickname(s) Killie
Founded 5 January 1869; 149 years ago (1869-01-05)
Ground Rugby Park
Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire
Capacity 17,889[1]
Main Shareholder Billy Bowie
Manager Steve Clarke
League Scottish Premiership
2017–18 Scottish Premiership, 5th of 12
Website Club website
Current season

Kilmarnock Football Club, commonly known as Killie, is a Scottish football team based in the town of Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire. The team is currently under the management of Steve Clarke. The club has won many honours since its formation in 1869,[2] most recently the 2011–12 Scottish League Cup after a 1–0 win over Celtic at Hampden Park.[3]

Kilmarnock Football Club is currently the oldest football club in the Scottish Premiership, and are also the oldest professional club in Scotland.[4] Home matches are played at Rugby Park, a 17,889 capacity all seater stadium situated in the town itself. Kilmarnock took part in the first ever official match in the Scottish Cup against the now defunct Renton in 1873.

Kilmarnock have a long standing football rivalry with fellow Ayrshire side Ayr United, with both teams playing frequently in the Ayrshire derby in which both sides first met in September 1910. Kilmarnock have long been the most successful side in the Ayrshire derby, winning 189 times in 225 meetings.

The club have qualified for European competitions on nine occasions, their best performance coming in the 1966–67 Fairs Cup when they progressed to the semi-finals, eventually being eliminated by Leeds United. The club is also one of only a few Scottish clubs to have played in all three European competitions (European Cup, Cup Winners' Cup and the UEFA Cup).[5]


Formation & early years[edit]

A history of Kilmarnock FC's overall league position from 1895 to present

The club's foundation dates back to the very earliest days of organised football in Scotland, when a group of local cricketers looking for a sporting pursuit to occupy them outside of the cricket season looked to form a football club. On 5 January 1869 the club was founded during a general meeting at Robertson's Temperance Hotel on Portland Street.[6] Originally they played a game more similar to rugby and these origins are reflected to this day by the name of the club's home ground – Rugby Park. The difficulty in organising fixtures under this code and the growing influence of Queen's Park soon persuaded them to adopt the association code instead. At this time, the club played games in a number locations including Holm Quarry, the Grange on Irvine Road and a location close to the current Rugby Park.

Following the formation of Scotland's earliest football clubs in the 1860s, football experienced a rapid growth but there was no formal structure, and matches were often arranged in a haphazard and irregular fashion.

Queen's Park, a Glasgow club founded in 1867, took the lead, and following an advertisement in a Glasgow newspaper in 1873, representatives from seven clubs – Queen's Park, Clydesdale, Vale of Leven, Dumbreck, Third Lanark, Eastern and Granville – attended a meeting on 13 March 1873. Furthermore, Kilmarnock sent a letter stating their willingness to form the Scottish Football Association.

That day, these eight clubs formed the Scottish Football Association, and resolved that: The clubs here represented form themselves into an association for the promotion of football according to the rules of The Football Association and that the clubs connected with this association subscribe for a challenge cup to be played for annually, the committee to propose the laws of the competition.

Kilmarnock also competed in the inaugural Scottish Cup tournament in 1873–74. Their 2–0 defeat against Renton in the First Round on 18 October 1873 is thought to have been the first match ever played in the competition.

Kilmarnock joined the Scottish League in 1895 and after winning consecutive Second Division titles were elected to the top flight for the first time in 1899. In 1920 Kilmarnock won the Scottish Cup for the first time beating Albion Rovers at Hampden. This was followed soon by their second success in 1929 where the beat massive favourites Rangers 2–0 at the national stadium in front of a crowd of 114,708 people.[7]

Late 20th century[edit]

In 1964–65 Heart of Midlothian fought out a championship title race with Willie Waddell's Kilmarnock. In the era of two points for a win Hearts were three points clear with two games remaining. Hearts drew with Dundee United meaning the last game of the season with the two title challengers playing each other at Tynecastle would be a league decider. Kilmarnock needed to win by a two-goal margin to take the title. Hearts entered the game as favourites with both a statistical and home advantage. They also had a solid pedigree of trophy winning under Tommy Walker. Waddell's Kilmarnock in contrast had been nearly men. Four times in the previous five seasons they had finished league runners-up including Hearts’ triumph in 1960. Killie had also lost three domestic cup finals during the same period including the 1962 League Cup Final defeat to Hearts. Hearts had won five of the six senior cup finals they played in under Walker. Even the final they had lost was in a replay after drawing the first game. Hearts' Roald Jensen hit the post after six minutes. Kilmarnock then scored twice through Davie Sneddon and Brian McIlroy after 27 and 29 minutes. Alan Gordon had an excellent chance to clinch the title for Hearts in second half injury time but was denied by a Bobby Ferguson diving save pushing the ball past the post. The 2–0 defeat meant Hearts lost the title by an average of 0.042 goals.[8][9][10] Subsequently, Hearts were instrumental in pushing through a change to use goal difference to separate teams level on points. Ironically this rule change later denied Hearts the title in 1985–86.[11] This is the only time to date Killie have been Scottish champions.

After a period of decline in the 1980s which saw the club relegated to the Second Division, Killie have returned to prominence, holding top division status since being promoted in 1993 and lifting the Scottish Cup for the third time in 1997 thanks to a 1–0 victory over Falkirk in the final.

The club have qualified for European competitions on nine occasions, their best performance coming in the 1966–67 Fairs Cup when they progressed to the semi-finals, eventually being eliminated by Leeds United. The club is also one of only a few Scottish clubs to have played in all three European competitions (European Cup, Cup Winners' Cup and the UEFA Cup).

21st century[edit]

Kilmarnock playing against Celtic F.C. in the 2012 Scottish League Cup Final in which Kilmarnock beat Celtic 1–0

Kilmarnock reached the 2007 Scottish League Cup Final,[12] but suffered a 5–1 defeat in the final by Hibernian. After selling Steven Naismith to Rangers for a club-record fee in August 2007, Killie struggled in the 2007–08 Scottish Premier League, finishing in 11th place with 40 points. In January 2010, Kilmarnock were second bottom of the 2009–10 Scottish Premier League, with last placed Falkirk just two points behind. On 11 January 2010, Jim Jefferies left the club by "mutual consent" and Jimmy Calderwood was appointed manager. Kilmarnock then achieved a first win in nine years against Celtic. Continued poor form, however, meant a final day showdown at Rugby Park with Falkirk for SPL survival. Kilmarnock began the game with a two-point advantage over their rivals and a goalless draw on the day was good enough to secure top-flight football for another year. They ended the season with just 33 points, their worst points finish in the SPL.

After Calderwood left the team at the end the season, Mixu Paatelainen was appointed manager for the next two years with an option for a third.[13] Despite being the favourites for relegation that season, Kilmarnock finished the season in fifth position. Paatelainen left Kilmarnock to become manager of Finland and his assistant Kenny Shiels was appointed manager. Kilmarnock progressed to the 2012 Scottish League Cup Final with wins against Queen of the South, East Fife and Ayr United in an Ayrshire derby at Hampden. Kilmarnock won the League Cup for the first time, as they defeated Celtic 1–0 in the final. Dieter van Tornhout scored the only goal six minutes from time, with Cammy Bell named Man of the Match.[14] In June 2013, after three years at Kilmarnock Football Club, manager Kenny Shiels was sacked by chairman Michael Johnston after a "mutual agreement" between the two.[15][16]

Allan Johnston signed a two-year contract and was appointed manager on 24 June 2013, with Sandy Clark as the assistant manager.[17] Sandy Clark left his role in the summer of 2014 with the club looking to go in a new direction, and ex-Killie player and former Hearts manager Gary Locke was appointed as his assistant.

Allan Johnston was sacked in February 2015 after informing the press of his intention to leave in the summer, before discussing this with the board. Gary Locke was placed in interim charge, before signing a three-year deal in April 2015.[18] Kilmarnock went on to lose seven of their final eight games of the season, but were spared the play-off spot after a 4–1 win over Partick Thistle. Lee Clark took over in February 2016.[19] Clark remained in the role for exactly one-year, before leaving on 15 February 2017 to become manager English League One side Bury.[20]

Michael Johnston stood down as club Chairman in March 2015, with ex-TUI Group (German: TUI (Touristik Union International) Aktiengesellschaft) senior executive Jim Mann taking over.[21]

Colours and badge[edit]

The earliest known Kilmarnock kit from 1879 consisted of an all blue jersey with white trousers. The shirt bore a crest which was described as "a hand, index and second fingers upright, thumb outstreched, other fingers enclosed over a palm." The hand rested on a bar over a ball marked KFC. Thereafter, the club have predominantly played in blue and white striped or hooped shirts with either blue or white shorts. The club have also occasionally played in plain blue and plain white tops, this was suggested by Ross Quigley whom at the time was one of the first directors of the club, although the kit was later changed to the 1920 kit. The club's away colours have varied greatly over time. Yellow is generally regarded as the club's main third colour; but white, red and purple away kits have also appeared in recent years.

Between 2008 and 2014, the club manufactured their kits under their own sportswear brand, 1869. Following this, Italian company Erreá was the manufacturer. The current shirt sponsors are the locally based QTS Group with American company Nike manufacturing the kit, which can only be bought from their own store at Rugby Park.

The current club badge is a modernised version of previous club badges. It features a ball bearing a hand in a blessing position, flanked by two red squirrels. The club's Latin motto, 'confidemus' ('we trust'), is written above the badge. The club adopted the current badge in 1993 after The Lord Lyon decreed that the previous badge, based heavily upon the town crest, was in breach of ancient Scottish heraldic rules.


Rugby Park stadium, situated on Rugby Road, home of Kilmarnock FC

Kilmarnock first played football matches at the present Rugby Park site in 1899. Despite this, the venue is actually Kilmarnock’s fourth home ground. The Grange, Holm Quarry and Ward's Park all hosted matches, before the club moved to Rugby Park in 1877. This was not the present stadium, but one situated close by near South Hamilton Street. This ground was shared by cricket and rugby teams – sports which Kilmarnock had played previously – and the connection with rugby gave the ground its name. This name was taken with the club when they moved to their present stadium.

During 1994–95 season the stadium capacity was significantly reduced as three new stands were constructed; the Moffat Stand, the Chadwick Stand and the East Stand. Their completion brought the capacity of the stadium to 17,889.[22] The stadium opened on 6 August 1995, in a friendly match against English champions Blackburn Rovers. Mike Newell hit a hat-trick as the home team lost 5–0.[citation needed]

A FIFA 2 star FieldTurf artificial pitch was installed at Rugby Park for the start of the 2014–15 season. The pitch is capable of hosting rugby matches as well as football.

Panorama of Rugby Park looking towards the Chadwick (Away) Stand

Ayrshire Derby[edit]

Kilmarnock's biggest rivalry is with their South Ayrshire neighbours Ayr United and together they contest the Ayrshire Derby. The fixture has been played 256 times since their first meeting on 14 September 1910. Killie have won on 189 occasions.

Club records[edit]

Coaching staff[edit]

Position Name
Manager Steve Clarke
Assistant Manager Alex Dyer
Goalkeeping Coach Billy Thomson
Academy Director Paul McDonald
Development Squad Manager Andy Millen


First Team Squad[edit]

As of 15 September 2018

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Scotland GK Jamie MacDonald
2 Scotland DF Stephen O'Donnell
3 Scotland DF Greg Taylor
4 Republic of Ireland MF Jack Byrne
5 Scotland DF Kirk Broadfoot
6 Republic of Ireland MF Alan Power
7 Scotland FW Rory McKenzie
8 Republic of Ireland MF Gary Dicker (vice-captain)
9 Scotland FW Kris Boyd (captain)
10 Scotland MF Greg Kiltie
11 Northern Ireland MF Jordan Jones
12 England FW Mikael Ndjoli (on loan from Bournemouth)
13 Scotland GK Devlin MacKay
No. Position Player
15 Nigeria FW Bright Enobakhare (on loan from Wolves)
16 Scotland DF Scott Boyd
17 Scotland DF Stuart Findlay
18 Scotland DF Calum Waters
19 Scotland FW Greg Stewart (on loan from Birmingham City)
20 Scotland MF Iain Wilson
22 Scotland DF Ross Millen
23 Scotland MF Dom Thomas
25 Scotland FW Eamonn Brophy
26 Austria GK Daniel Bachmann (on loan from Watford)
27 Democratic Republic of the Congo MF Aaron Tshibola (on loan from Aston Villa)
29 Scotland MF Chris Burke

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
14 Scotland DF Daniel Higgins (on loan at Stranraer)
21 Scotland MF Adam Frizzell (on loan at Queen of the South)
No. Position Player
31 Scotland FW Innes Cameron (on loan at Stranraer)

Managerial Statistics[edit]

Information correct as of matches played 13 May 2018. Only official Scottish League, Scottish Cup, Scottish League Cup and European Competition matches are counted

Name Games Wins Draws Losses Win % League Scottish Cup League Cup Promoted
Charlie Smith
159 86 26 47 54.09 0 0 0 0
Barrie Grieve
141 41 33 67 29.08 0 0 0 0
James McDonald
343 131 73 139 38.19 0 0 0 0
Hugh Spence
807 312 159 336 38.66 0 2 0 0
Jimmy McGrory
108 45 23 40 41.67 0 0 0 0
Tom Smith
77 18 20 39 23.38 0 0 0 0
Tom Mather
37 15 6 16 40.54 0 0 0 0
Alex Hastings
77 27 16 34 35.06 0 0 0 0
Malky McDonald
297 137 57 103 46.13 0 0 0 0
Willie Waddell
389 215 76 98 55.27 1 0 0 0
Malky McDonald
141 67 30 44 47.52 0 0 0 0
Walter McCrae
256 93 63 100 36.33 0 0 0 0
Davie Sneddon
(1973, 1977–1981)
164 65 44 55 39.63 0 0 0 1
Willie Fernie
184 66 49 69 35.87 0 0 0 2
Rab Stewart
(1980, 1984)
3 3 0 0 100.00 0 0 0 0
Jim Clunie
179 58 52 69 32.40 0 0 0 1
Eddie Morrison
188 65 46 77 34.57 0 0 0 0
Jim Clark
2 1 0 1 50.00 0 0 0 0
Jim Fleeting
162 68 43 51 41.98 0 0 0 0
Tommy Burns
112 48 32 32 42.86 0 0 0 1
Alex Totten
98 31 21 46 31.63 0 0 0 0
Bobby Williamson
246 89 67 90 36.18 0 1 0 0
Jim Jefferies
327 117 65 145 35.78 0 0 0 0
Jimmy Calderwood
23 7 4 12 30.43 0 0 0 0
Mixu Paatelainen
34 15 6 13 44.12 0 0 0 0
Kenny Shiels
95 27 31 37 28.42 0 0 1 0
Allan Johnston
66 20 10 36 30.30 0 0 0 0
Gary Locke
43 11 10 22 25.58 0 0 0 0
Lee Clark
44 10 13 21 22.73 0 0 0 0
Lee McCulloch
(2016, 2017)
30 8 8 14 26.67 0 0 0 0
Steve Clarke
33 17 10 6 51.51 0 0 0 0

Honours and accolades[edit]



  • Inter-Cities Fairs Cup:
  • International Soccer League:
  • Tennent Caledonian Cup:
  • UEFA Respect Fair Play ranking:
    • Winners: 1999
  • Ayrshire Cup (44): 1884, 1885, 1886, 1891, 1896, 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1928, 1930, 1931, 1935, 1947, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959 (shared), 1960, 1962, 1966, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998[26]
  • Kilmarnock Merchants' Charity Cup (16): 1883–84, 1885–86, 1891–92, 1893–94, 1895–96, 1897–98, 1898–99, 1899–00, 1900–01, 1913–14, 1927–28, 1928–29, 1930–31, 1931–32, 1934–35, 1938–39[27]
  • Ayr Charity Cup: (5): 1887–88, 1927–28, 1933–34, 1934–35, 1936–37

Club Anthem[edit]

The song "Paper Roses", originally a hit by American singer and activist Anita Bryant, was adopted by Kilmarnock fans as their own club anthem. American singer and actress Marie Osmond, who is famous for recording this song, surprised the fans in February 2013 and performed at Rugby Park along with a meet and greet session, signing autographs for the players and fans.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kilmarnock Football Club". Scottish Professional Football League. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Celtic 0–1 Kilmarnock". BBC Sport. 
  4. ^ "Who are Scotland's oldest professional football clubs". 
  5. ^ "Killie in Europe!!". 
  6. ^ Ross, David (1994). Killie: The Official History. Harefield: The Bath Press. ISBN 1 874427 75 5. 
  7. ^ Ross, David (1994). Killie: The Official History. Harefield: The Bath Press. ISBN 1 874427 75 5. 
  8. ^ Killie’s final day victory breaks Hearts
  9. ^ "1965-04-24 Sat Hearts 0 Kilmarnock 2". 
  10. ^ cb76kfc (10 July 2008). "Hearts 0 Killie 2 (24/04/1965)" – via YouTube. 
  11. ^ "Hearts History 1964 – 74". 
  12. ^ "Football – Scottish Cups – Kilmarnock 3–0 Falkirk". BBC. 
  13. ^ "Football – Mixu Paatelainen is named as the new Kilmarnock manager". BBC. 
  14. ^ "Celtic vs. Kilmarnock – Football Match Report – March 18, 2012 – ESPN". 
  15. ^ "Kilmarnock part company with manager Kenny Shiels". BBC Sport. 
  16. ^ "Spiers on Sport: the unjust sacking of Kenny Shiels". The Herald. Glasgow. 
  17. ^ "Allan Johnston Joins Kilmarnock". 
  18. ^ "Kilmarnock: Gary Locke confirmed as permanent manager". 3 April 2015 – via 
  19. ^ Sutherland, Jonathan (15 February 2016). "Lee Clark: Who is the new Kilmarnock manager?". BBC Sport. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  20. ^ a b "Lee Clark: Kilmarnock boss to quit to join Bury". BBC Sport. BBC. 15 February 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 
  21. ^ "The Board". 
  22. ^ "Kilmarnock Football Club". Scottish Professional Football League. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  23. ^ "Kilmarnock appoint Gary Locke as permanent manager on three-year deal". Daily Mail. 3 April 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2016. 
  24. ^ "Kilmarnock manager Gary Locke resigns after Hamilton loss". BBC Sport. 30 January 2016. Retrieved 30 January 2016. 
  25. ^ Known as second division prior to 1975
  26. ^ "Ayrshire Cup". Retrieved 2018-08-08. 
  27. ^ "Kilmarnock Merchants' Charity Cup". Retrieved 2018-08-07. 
  28. ^ "Marie Osmond visits Kilmarnock Football Club. I". 

External links[edit]