RECOGNISING your woeful inadequacy is an entirely different business from doing something about it.

In terms of self-awareness, Kilmarnock's credentials cannot be questioned. The candour from their dressing room is such that their local rivals, Ayr United, may have to give up ownership rights to their nickname before too long.

Gary Locke, the manager, said sorry to a support already after his blood and admitted the four-goal defeat to Dundee on the opening day of the Ladbrokes Premiership season was "a disaster". Kris Boyd went even further.

"We could have lost 8-0 or 9-0," he conceded, without blinking. "Dundee had four or five great opportunities before they scored their opener and Jamie MacDonald made some good saves.

"They created 15 or 16 great opportunities. We didn't win any 50-50 balls, we didn't win a challenge in the air and it took us 80-odd minutes to have a shot at goal."

Being brutally honest is clearly the done thing when addressing the issues at Rugby Park, so here goes.

As delightful and exciting as Dundee were to watch, the performance offered up by Kilmarnock plummeted new lows at a club that has served up a fair amount of rubbish in recent seasons. Already, after no more than 90 minutes of football, it is hard to see this collection of players preventing the campaign from being another one of grim struggle.

They were beyond appalling on Saturday. There can have been few matches as one-sided as this in the 40 years since the Premier Division came into being.

From the very first whistle, the gulf in class between both sides was staggering. Locke fielded six of his seven summer signings over the course of the match. Outwith the goalkeeper, MacDonald, who deserves praise for keeping the scoreline below double figures, they were all completely anonymous.

Locke's transfer policy centred around handing good contracts to ageing players limping out of the worst season in the entire history of Rangers Football Club. Those have to be decisions coloured by reputation rather than recent form.

Smith was responsible for sparking off the abuse directed towards Locke on 13 minutes with a pass intended for Chris Johnston that he would have needed a telescopic leg to reach. The catcalls would only intensify as the full horror story unfolded.

Locke's case was not helped by the fact he made all three of his substitutions at the interval. Like it or not, it gave the impression he went into the opening game of the season without knowing what his best team was.

He is a good coach. He proved that at Hearts two seasons ago, moulding a team of young players thrown together in the maelstrom of administration into a side capable of winning points, but there is no reason to feel positive about this side he has created at Rugby Park.

Scott Robinson started in midfield beside Jamie Hamill, who was replaced at half-time. It was a hell of a debut for him. Gary Harkins, Kevin Thomson and Nick Ross stomped all over them from the opening seconds with the outstanding and ever-improving Greg Stewart, who scored two goals along with striker Rory Loy, terrorising the home side with his link-up play, vision and killer instinct.

Stuart Findlay played at the back for Killie. He is a Celtic reserve sent out on loan after periods at Morton and Dumbarton. He looks like it. His lack of experience showed.

As for Kallum Higginbotham, on record as stating his dislike for artificial pitches such as the one at Rugby Park, and substitute Dale Carrick, they weren't at the races.

"Dundee were excellent, but all we can do is apologise to the fans," said Boyd. "That performance embarrassed us.

"I know it's only the first game of the season, but the last time I was here, we were in a relegation battle until the last day and this could be another long, hard season.

"Us players need to get a grip."

For Dundee supporters, however, anything must seem possible. Bad as Killie were, the Dens Park side were brilliant. They were sharp, incisive and well-drilled. Their passing and movement was a joy to behold with Stewart, nominated for the PFA Scotland Player of the Year award last term, producing the best of several terrific performances.

Stewart was playing for Cowdenbeath and working in an oil refinery just over a year ago. Loy, recently signed from Falkirk, sees him as a role model for the more unproven members of Paul Hartley's team.

"Greg is proven at this level after last year," said the striker. "Kane Hemmings and I are looking to achieve that same thing.

"He is a great player. You can see that and you can also see the confidence growing in him.

"The manager encourages you to go and try things in the final third. If something doesn't come off, he is not blasting you.

"When things do come off, your confidence builds and, slowly but surely, you become the player you can be."