Kilmarnock F.C.

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Full name The Kilmarnock Football Club Ltd
Nickname(s) Killie
Founded 5 January 1869; 147 years ago (1869-01-05)
Ground Rugby Park
Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire
Ground Capacity 18,128[1]
Chairman Jim Mann
Manager Lee Clark
League Scottish Premiership
2015–16 Scottish Premiership, 11th
Website Club home page
Current season

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

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).[4]

Killie is the oldest football club in the Scottish Premiership, and are also the oldest professional club in the country.[citation needed] Home matches are played at Rugby Park, an 18,128 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.


Formation & early years[edit]

A history of Kilmarnock FC's overall league position from 1895 to 2013

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.[5] 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.[6]

Late 20th century[edit]

The club's greatest success was in 1965 under the management of Willie Waddell. On the final day of the season, they travelled to face Hearts at Tynecastle requiring a victory by two goals to nil (due to the competition being decided by goal average at that period if teams were equal on points) to win the league at their opponents' expense. A memorable 2–0 win saw Kilmarnock crowned Scottish League champions for the first, and to date only, time.[7] This capped a period of tremendous consistency which had seen them occupy runners-up spot in four of the previous five seasons.

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 FC squad celebrate after a goal against Morton

Kilmarnock reached the 2007 Scottish League Cup Final,[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11][12]

Allan Johnston signed a two-year contract and was appointed manager on 24 June 2013, with Sandy Clark as the assistant manager.[13] 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.[14] 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.

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.[15]

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 outstreached, 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 at the time was suggested by Ross Quigley whom at the time was one of the first directors of the club, although the kit was later surpassed to the 1920 kit. The clubs 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. The current shirt sponsors are the locally based QTS Group with Italian company Erreà manufacturing the kit.

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 17,891.[16] The stadium opened on 6 August 1995, in a friendly match against English champions Blackburn Rovers. Alan Shearer hit a hat-trick as the home team lost 5–0.

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.

Ayrshire Derby[edit]

Kilmarnock's biggest rivalry is with their South Ayrshire neighbours Ayr United and together they contest in the Ayrshire Derby. The fixture has been played 255 times since their first meeting on 14 September 1910. Killie have won on 189 occasions.

Club records[edit]

Coaching staff[edit]

Position Name
Manager Lee Clark
Assistant Manager Lee McCulloch
Assistant Coach Peter Leven
Head of Youth Development Paul Stephenson


First Team Squad[edit]

As of 17 September 2016

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 England DF Joshua Webb
3 Scotland DF Steven Smith (captain)
4 England DF Miles Addison (vice-captain)
5 England DF Will Boyle (on loan from Huddersfield Town)
6 England MF Martin Smith
7 Scotland FW Rory McKenzie
8 Republic of Ireland MF Gary Dicker
9 Scotland FW Kris Boyd
10 Scotland FW Greg Kiltie
11 Northern Ireland MF Jordan Jones
12 England FW Nathan Tyson
14 Scotland MF Callum McFadzean
No. Position Player
15 Nigeria DF Dapo Kayode
16 Scotland DF Scott Boyd (on loan from Ross County)
17 England DF Jonathan Burn (on loan from Middlesbrough)
18 England MF Charlee Adams (on loan from Birmingham City)
19 Ivory Coast FW Souleymane Coulibaly
20 Albania FW Flo Bojaj (on loan from Huddersfield Town)
21 Scotland MF Adam Frizzell
22 England DF Jamie Cobain
24 Scotland DF Greg Taylor
25 England MF George Green (on loan from Burnley)
27 England DF Luke Hendrie (on loan from Burnley)
31 Scotland GK Devlin MacKay
33 Scotland MF Dean Hawkshaw

Development Squad[edit]

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

No. Position Player
30 Scotland DF Sam Lidington
32 Scotland FW Scott McLean
34 Scotland MF Jack Whittaker
35 Scotland FW Lewis Morrison
36 Scotland FW Iain Wilson
No. Position Player
38 Scotland DF Taylor Queen
39 Scotland MF Thomas Dempsie
40 Scotland FW William Graham
41 Scotland DF Aidan Wilson
42 Scotland DF Lewis Clark


Name Scottish League Scottish Cup Scottish League Cup Promotion from First Division
Hugh Spence (1919–1937) 0 2 0 0
McGrory, JimmyJimmy McGrory (1937–1945) 0 0 0 0
Smith, TomTom Smith (1945–1947) 0 0 0 0
Mather, TomTom Mather (1947–1948) 0 0 0 0
Hastings, AlexAlex Hastings (1948–1950) 0 0 0 0
McDonald, MalkyMalky McDonald (1950–1957) 0 0 0 0
Waddell, WillieWillie Waddell (1957–1965) 1 0 0 0
McDonald, MalkyMalky McDonald (1965–1968) 0 0 0 0
McCrae, WalterWalter McCrae (1968–1973) 0 0 0 0
Fernie, WillieWillie Fernie (1973–1977) 0 0 0 1
Sneddon, DavieDavie Sneddon (1977–1981) 0 0 0 1
Clunie, JimJim Clunie (1981–1984) 0 0 0 1
Morrison, EddieEddie Morrison (1984–1988) 0 0 0 0
Fleeting, JimJim Fleeting (1988–1992) 0 0 0 0
Burns, TommyTommy Burns (1992–1994) 0 0 0 1
Totten, AlexAlex Totten (1994–1996) 0 0 0 0
Williamson, BobbyBobby Williamson (7 Dec 1996 – 25 Feb 2002) 0 1 0 0
Jefferies, JimJim Jefferies (28 Feb 2002 – 11 Jan 2010) 0 0 0 0
Calderwood, JimmyJimmy Calderwood (14 Jan 2010 – 31 May 2010) 0 0 0 0
Paatelainen, MixuMixu Paatelainen (23 June 2010 – 31 March 2011) 0 0 0 0
Shiels, KennyKenny Shiels (interim) (31 March 2011 – 15 June 2011) 0 0 0 0
Shiels, KennyKenny Shiels (15 June 2011 – 9 June 2013) 0 0 1 0
Johnston, AllanAllan Johnston (24 June 2013 – 6 February 2015) 0 0 0 0
Locke, GaryGary Locke (3 April 2015[17] – 30 January 2016[18]) 0 0 0 0
Clark, LeeLee Clark (15 February 2016 –) 0 0 0 0

Honours and accolades[edit]

Honours and competition wins[edit]

Club Anthem[edit]

The song Paper Roses was adopted by Kilmarnock fans as their own club anthem. Entertainer 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.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rugby Park". Kilmarnock F.C. 
  2. ^ "Kilmarnock Football Club". 
  3. ^ "Celtic 0–1 Kilmarnock". BBC Sport. 
  4. ^ "Killie in Europe!!". 
  5. ^ cite book |title= Killie: The Official History |last=Ross |first=David |year=1994 |publisher=The Bath Press |location=Harefield |ISBN 1 874427 75 5
  6. ^ Ross, David (1994). Killie: The Official History. Harefield: The Bath Press. ISBN 1 874427 75 5. 
  7. ^ "1964–65 Scottish League Champions". Retrieved 9 April 2010. 
  8. ^ "Football – Scottish Cups – Kilmarnock 3–0 Falkirk". BBC. 
  9. ^ "Football – Mixu Paatelainen is named as the new Kilmarnock manager". BBC. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Kilmarnock part company with manager Kenny Shiels". BBC Sport. 
  12. ^ "Spiers on Sport: the unjust sacking of Kenny Shiels". The Herald. Glasgow. 
  13. ^ "Allan Johnston Joins Kilmarnock". 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Kilmarnock Football Club". Scottish Professional Football League. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  17. ^ "Kilmarnock appoint Gary Locke as permanent manager on three-year deal". Daily Mail. 3 April 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2016. 
  18. ^ "Kilmarnock manager Gary Locke resigns after Hamilton loss". BBC Sport. 30 January 2016. Retrieved 30 January 2016. 
  19. ^ Known as second division prior to 1975
  20. ^ "Marie Osmond visits Kilmarnock Football Club". 

External links[edit]