Returning strike legend to restore Kilmarnock’s Premiership bite

Finishing in no higher than ninth place for the last three seasons, it’s fair for fans of Kilmarnock to be hoping for more of a performance in 2015/16.

A sense of upheaval hangs around the club under the guidance of manager Gary Locke, who was appointed in April, with no fewer than eight new arrivals at Rugby Park.

The bookmakers, though, are unconvinced.

Killie see themselves as 7/2 joint favourites to finish bottom of the pile, with their end-of-season form under their new boss far from inspiring.

Eight defeats in their final nine Premiership matches last term saw them flirt with the possibility of a relegation play-off, but their cushion ensured they avoided such ignominy.

The return of a legend at the Ayrshire club could see them stay as far away from a scrap at the bottom of the table as possible, and he’s out to prove himself.

A return of just three goals in 29 appearances for Rangers in the Scottish Championship last season may not sound like a ringing endorsement for Kris Boyd.

But the fact that he is just 14/1 to top the scoring charts in the campaign ahead says a lot about the ability he possesses.

The 31-year-old has broken the 20-goal mark four times in the top-flight, most recently with Killie in 2013-14.

A return to those sort of numbers will undoubtedly see him go close to the top of the goal-scoring leaderboard, with Aberdeen’s Adam Rooney the stand-out performer last season with 18 strikes.

Do that and his side will surely have no worries about survival this year.

The difference between straightforward survival and a push for the top six (for which they are a 7/1 shot) could come at the back though.

On 19 occasions they conceded two or more goals in 2014/15, earning Killie the unwanted title of the leakiest defence in the division.

The arrival of another pair from Rangers in Lee McCulloch and Steven Smith will add numbers to the potential defensive reinforcements, as they look to plug the gaps.

The trio of players that have made the journey from Ibrox could be key in how the one-time Scottish champions perform this season, as they look to become a force to be reckoned with once again.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Aaron Cox

Aaron has written for a number of top-level publications, including FourFourTwo and the Manchester Evening News. As well as being a fanatical Rochdale AFC fan and blogger, he shares a passion for rugby league and golf.