Kilmarnock v Hibernian
Ground: Rugby Park, Kilmarnock
I’m closing in on “the 42”, with only 7 more to go: 2 in the Premiership and 5 in the Championship. My last one in Scotland before Christmas became Kilmarnock, I will go abroad and watch some games though. I drove from Dundee to Kilmarnock to go to Rugby Park.
Kilmarnock FC are the oldest professional football club in Scotland and got founded in 1869 by local cricketers who wanted to play sports outside their season as well. The game they played at first was more similar to rugby, but eventually they followed Queen’s Park FC and adopted association football instead. In 1873 they were founder members of the Scottish Football association and they played in the first ever Scottish Cup match in October 1873. They joined the Scottish Football League in 1895, and got elected to Division One in 1899. In 1920 they won their first Scottish Cup, followed by further wins in 1929 and 1997. They won their only top flight title in 1965 and the League Cup in 2012. They have played European football on 9 occasions, with the best result being a semi final place in the 1966/67 Fairs Cup, where they lost to Leeds United.
Kilmarnock have played at Rugby Park from 1877, although the ground was not at exactly the same location then. In 1899 they moved to a new Rugby Park ground, on the site of the current stadium. In the 1994/95 season the stadium got fully redeveloped to the 17,889 all-seater stadium it is now. The ground is in a residential area and even though it’s a modern all-seater, its history is clear when you walk around. I was in the West Stand, the main stand from where I had a great view.
The game was one-sided: Kilmarnock were very strong and Hibs were weak, with Killie running out 3-0 winners. In the second half there were 2 interruptions of about 15 minutes due to failing floodlights, in the 53rd and 68th minutes, with a 2-0 scoreline. The second time it went completely dark in the stadium for a few minutes and I thought the game didn’t restart, so did fans around me who were getting quite anxious. Much to their relief, and disappointment of the away fans, the game did eventually restart and Killie scored their third goal.