In almost every other season a paltry return of just three points from their opening seven matches would leave a team languishing at the foot of the table, already adrift from the main pack. Not this year, however.
With Hearts trying to claw back a 15-point handicap and St Mirren struggling badly, Kilmarnock find themselves in 10th place in the SPFL Premiership and out of immediate danger. That unusual scenario has allowed Allan Johnston a bit of breathing space. Following in the footsteps of a cult hero in Kenny Shiels, hampered by budget cuts and caught in the middle of unrelenting hostilities between his chairman and the fans, it was never going to be easy for any new manager, even one with a reputation as one of the rising stars of the game. Johnston, though, has rolled up his sleeves and is getting on with it.
His rebuilding job is ongoing - he gave a debut to Ismael Bouzid on Saturday and hopes to re-sign David Silva early this week - and there were certainly signs during an hugely entertaining afternoon at Firhill that Kilmarnock may be finally moving in the right direction. Bouzid's arrival, and the return of club captain Manuel Pascali from injury, means there is now a strong and dependable spine right through the team; goalkeeper Craig Samson made a number of big saves against Partick Thistle, in the first half especially, while any team with Kris Boyd leading the attack knows that they will always have a chance of scoring, regardless of their performance.
Kilmarnock were second best for large parts of Saturday's contest but a strong 20 minutes or so at the start of the second half delivered them the equaliser - through Boyd - that would eventually earn them their third point of the season, while also serving up hope that this need not be a season spent scrambling around at the bottom of the table.
"We're definitely closer to getting the first win," said Samson. "If we can turn our second-half performance into 90 minutes then we're not far away. We're getting there. Slowly but surely we're getting there.
"There's no doubt [our first win] will come and we will get better as it goes on. I know we've said that in the last few weeks but we will. We're not a group that will go into our shell and doesn't have any confidence, we'll get there."
Samson was not the only goalkeeper earning his corn on Saturday. After being a virtual spectator for most of the first half, Scott Fox was called into action several times in the second. "He had a couple of terrific saves, one of them from big Bouzid from a header and one from Kris as well," added Samson. "They were good saves and they were the ones that got Partick Thistle a point.
"If we had scored at that time I think there was no doubt that we'd have gone on and won the game. But Scott's made good saves at important times and he's done that over and over for Partick Thistle."
Thistle's main problems, however, lie at the other end of the pitch. The draw lifted them in to the top half of the table but the general feeling at full-time was one of frustration at a failure to convert the myriad chances created in the first half, and again late in the game when substitute Christie Elliott could easily have had a hat trick.
An early goal, from an Aaron Muirhead penalty, should have been the platform for Alan Archibald's side to go on and construct a comfortable victory but profligacy again proved costly. "We need to be a bit more clinical because we won't get that many chances in every game," striker Kris Doolan admitted. "But, once it clicks, the floodgates will open. Once we have got the final pass sussed, they will just start flying in the net. We are certainly getting into the positions and if we continue to get in there the ball will start going in the net."