'This could be a particularly grim game of football': Journalists' predictions for Kilmarnock v Hibs

Stevie Mallan and Kilmarnock's Rory McKenzie clash during the last meeting between the sides at Rugby Park.
Stevie Mallan and Kilmarnock's Rory McKenzie clash during the last meeting between the sides at Rugby Park.
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Our online team try to predict the result from Saturday's match at Rugby Park as Hibs travel to Ayrshire in need of a result to kick-start their season.

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Craig Fowler: Many a Hibernian supporter will be dreading this weekend's trip to Rugby Park. They're struggling at the wrong end of the table, will be travelling to a ground where they lost on both occasions last season and playing an opponent who finished higher than them in the league. But while a run of two victories and three clean-sheets from three games has lifted some of the gloom from Rugby Park, there's still a bit of discontent behind the scenes as the players adjust to the significant change of going from Steve Clarke to Angelo Alessio. Don't be too surprised if Paul Heckingbottom, having been afforded the international break to work on his team's shape and gameplan, manages to figure out a way to find victory. As it stands, I'll remain on the fence. Prediction: Draw

Mark Atkinson: Hibs have put in two of their most abject performances of recent times in the past two visits to Rugby Park. It's not a particularly happy hunting ground, not least because of the plastic pitch. Heckingbottom needs a win to stave off the growing clamour for his head. Neither team is in especially great shape right now. Killie are struggling for goals, Hibs are struggling to keep the ball out of the net. I think this will be a nervy, stodgy encounter. One goal might be enough to win it. Prediction: Draw.

Joel Sked: The good news for Hibs, Heckingbottom and the fans is that Kilmarnock have mustered the sum total of two goals in the league so far. The Rugby Park side are not blessed with creativity and spark in the final third. The bad news is only bottom-placed St Johnstone have conceded more than the Hibees. It is therefore understandable that fans may have concerns that the trip to Ayrshire could be as bad as their first trip to the region last season when Neil Lennon's men were swept away 3-0. That won't happen. But it certainly could be a wretched affair. One team down on confidence and another unsure of themselves. it could be the equivalent of a boxing match where both boxers are too timid to engage and dance around for 12 rounds. Draw 0-0

Anthony Brown: The international break came at a good time for Hibs, who were in danger of being engulfed by a sea of early-season negativity. Of course, that will all return if Heckingbottom’s team fall flat again at Rugby Park, but with Melker Hallberg, Ryan Porteous and Jason Naismith in contention to be added to the mix, it is not beyond possibility that they could leave Ayrshire with some kind of result. Prediction: Draw

Patrick McPartlin: This has the potential to be a particularly grim game of football - aside from the pitch. Hibs can score goals but have struggled at the back while Kilmarnock have struggled to find the net. They will have been boosted by a win at St Johnstone while Hibs will be looking to put their 3-0 reversal at Motherwell behind them. I think the international break will have done Hibs the world of good and the arrival of Jason Naismith plus the prospect of new boy Hallberg and popular defender Porteous playing could be a shot in the arm for Heckingbottom's side. I think Hibs are capable of securing a much-needed win at Rugby Park. Prediction: Hibs win

Neil McGlade: While Hearts are struggling, things are far from rosy across the city either. Hibs boss Heckingbottom is on the end of just as much flak from supporters following the side's substandard displays these last few weeks. Tomorrow's trip to Rugby Park is a big test of Hibs' character having conceded 14 goals in their previous four fixtures. Another big fat L really would leave the Hibees looking over their shoulder rather than what's in front of them, a sorry state so early in the campaign. The Ayrshire venue wasn't a happy hunting ground last season but Killie are far from firing on all cylinders too. A real dull affair looks set in stone. Oh, how I am looking forward to this one. Prediction: Draw