This piece is an extract from yesterday's The Rugby Road Gates newsletter, which is emailed out at 6pm every Wednesday. To receive our full, free Kilmarnock newsletter straight to your email inbox, click here.

A return of nine points out of a possible 12 in the recent run of games is not to be sniffed at for Killie. Maintaining that kind of form will certainly keep Derek McInnes’ side in and around the European spots in the Premiership.

Each of the three victories since the last international break has been impressive. Livingston for dominance, Aberdeen for style of play and Motherwell for being resolute. My favourite of the lot was the 3-1 win over Livi as apart from one game under Steve Clarke five years ago, the night Killie topped the league, I cannot remember a more comfortable afternoon against them. Kyle Vassell was excellent that day and has been instrumental during this run. There have been a series of strong performances from other players too. Robbie Deas’ against ‘Well is the freshest in memory.

The one blip on the run occurred last Wednesday. Another away day, another defeat. A common theme for this team. St Johnstone’s home record in recent seasons has been abysmal – the complete opposite of Killie. Some managers and players must earmark a trip to McDiarmid as a necessity to pick up points due to the Saints’ clear fragilities. McInnes certainly would have been quietly confident travelling on the motorway towards Perth and there’s no doubt he would’ve expected to take at least a point back to Ayrshire.

But that opening seven minutes – where Nicky Clark scored a double to secure St Johnstone’s first win of the season – epitomised why nobody connected to Killie can get too carried away with sitting fourth in the table for now.

Yes, it looks great any time you take a peak at the league standings. The reality is though, until the team’s away form can be improved upon, it’s going to be a case of one step forward, another step back. There will be little tangible progress. The club will be at a standstill on the park.

The overriding feeling among the fan base during the summer was that this – progression - would be the overall Key Performance Indicator for the manager this season. Of course, on the eye when watching on a matchday, clearly Killie are a better team this term than they were last. The recruitment was significantly improved with the help of Russ Richardson, and the new additions have also helped to bring the best out in the players who were already in the building.

READ MORE: Robbie Deas confident of regaining imperious Killie form

The thing about this run the team has recently put together though, all of the wins have been at Rugby Park. All of Killie’s best performances this season have taken place at Rugby Park. The great home form from last season has continued into the 2023/24 campaign. That’s fantastic. The foundation of any successful team should be built by making their ground a fortress. Season ticket holders have certainly had value for money over the last couple of years.

However, as good as it is that the strong home form hasn’t faltered, the dismal away record has continued and that remains a major problem for McInnes. So far this term, just two points have been accumulated on their travels. It really should have been four given how Dundee equalised in the added time at Dens Park. It will soon become ‘a thing’ again, to quote the manager, that Killie can’t win away if they don’t do so before the New Year.

Judging the mood music by reading other fan opinions and listening to podcasts, I think the vast majority appreciate what this team is capable of. It’s what you would associate with McInnes’ old Aberdeen sides – solid at the back, direct but playing with purpose and a threat in the opponent’s box. They need to start showing it in all games though, and not just roughly 50 percent of the time.

The Herald:

If the away form can be improved as a matter of priority, then belief will mount that something special could be achieved with this current group under McInnes. Something similar to Clarke’s exploits. If not, then ambitions will need to be tempered by the reality that for every home triumph, an away disappointment is just around the corner, thus leaving the club in exactly the same predicament.

It’s trips away to Hibernian and Ross County up next on either side of the international break. If one win could be secured that would be a real boost. Mind you, by taking baby steps, I would settle for two draws at traditionally tough venues.

To finish I want to put on record just how pleased I am for Innes Cameron scoring the winner at the weekend. It was far from an easy finish and the big man took the strike with the confidence you’d expect the likes of Kyogo to possess in front of goal. He’s not a young prospect anymore, but he’s a solid back-up and has the attributes to hurt teams at this level. He gets a ridiculously hard time from a section of the fans. Hopefully, last week’s performance is proof that he’s a valuable squad member and the critics who’ve been on his back begin to lay off him.