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Allan Johnston: 2014 will be a good year for Kilmarnock

Kilmarnock manager Allan Johnston feels there are signs that 2014 could be a good year for his team.

The Ayrshire outfit were beaten 3-0 by Hibernian on Sunday but wins in three of their previous four matches against Ross County, Partick Thistle and Hearts had eased any relegation concerns at the Premiership basement.

And those successes, combined with the form of some of the club's promising young players such as Chris Johnston, Rory McKenzie, Lee Ashcroft and Craig Slater, has left Johnston is positive mood heading into the new year.

Johnston, whose side are ninth in the standings and two points adrift of Thursday's visitors St Mirren, said: "The boys are doing extremely well. We weren't far away against Hibs and I don't think we merited a 3-0 defeat..

"It's been encouraging, the young players that have come in and the experienced players as well have gelled well together.

"We've got to carry our recent form through to 2014.

"We've got a lot of big games coming up, none more so than the game against St Mirren."

The exhausting festive schedule sees Kilmarnock face St Mirren in their fourth games in 13 days.

Johnston knows his players will be feeling the effects of the physically demanding period but will not be making any excuses.

He added: "I'm sure there will be elements of fatigue but it's the same for both sets of players and we have a lot of young players so I would imagine they're fit enough to handle the schedule."

Johnston is also hoping his side learn the lessons of the Hibs defeat.

He said "It was disappointing to lose a goal from a corner, especially with somebody getting a free header.

"It was disappointing and all the players were disappointed to lose such a soft goal to start with.

"At 1-0 you have to learn that you're still in the game and you cannot get caught on the counter-attack.

"We ended up getting beaten 3-0 and it looked like we had been thrashed when there was not much in the game."

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