Hall of Famers celebrated at End of Season Dinner

Kilmarnock first-team players showed their appreciation for two Killie legends who were inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame at the annual end of season awards dinner on Sunday 14th May.

The players joined supporters, sponsors and guests in paying tribute to Ally Mitchell and George Maxwell who received an outstanding reception having been selected by the Hall of Fame Committee as the latest inductees to be awarded icon status by the club.

Across a memorable night at The Park Hotel, Danny Armstrong and Abby Robinson picked up the coveted Men’s and Women’s Player of the Year accolades respectively, while Kirsty Munro, Liam Polworth, Bobby Wales and David Watson also took home awards.

Recognising more than 20 years of dedication to Kilmarnock’s women’s team, alongside their support in bringing the women’s programme in-house, David and Yvonne Howie were also honoured during the evening.

Take a look at a roundup of the award winners below.

Hall of Fame 

After catching the eye as an opposition player during Kilmarnock’s promotion winning campaign of 1989/90, Ally Mitchell was snapped up from East Fife the following season.

A debut goal against Sparta Rotterdam in the Forum Cup preceded more than 400 appearances over the course of a decade which featured promotion in 1992/93, that final day survival at Easter Road the year after, and of course the Scottish Cup win in 1997.

Over the years, ‘Bully’ contributed a creditable return of 50 goals, including the winner in a UEFA Cup tie against Glenavon in 2001, and perhaps most notably a late winner at Ibrox which effectively deprived Rangers of the 1997/98 league title.

Ally was subsequently awarded a well-deserved testimonial against Everton in November 1999.

Brian O’Neil from RedRock Automation LTD officially inducted Ally into the Hall of Fame.

George Maxwell signed professional forms on a part-time basis as an 18-year-old following a successful trial for the club, after being discovered while playing for Irvine Royal Academy and Kilmarnock Amateurs.

During his first couple of years, Maxwell represented the reserve team while studying to be a P.E teacher before making his league debut in a draw against St Mirren on New Year’s Day in 1970.

Over the next decade, he became a first-team regular and fans’ favourite due to his consistent form across both the defence and midfield, in addition to being a potent threat in front of goal. Indeed, he holds the club record for the most penalties scored in competitive games – a total of 31 of his 65 goals came from the spot, with many others coming from free-kicks and long-range shots.

Maxwell was part of the promotion-winning squads of 1974, 1976 and 1979, alongside being a four-time Ayrshire Cup winner. He was also part of the successful Tennent- Caledonian Cup campaign in 1979, in which he hit the last-minute equalising penalty and subsequently the winning penalty in the shoot-out at Ibrox.

In 1981, Maxwell famously won the Champion Hot-Shot Trophy following a competition held to discover the player with the fastest shot in the top-flight, with his winning effort recorded at 77.13 mph.

Colin McInnes from Duncan McInnes Ltd. presented George with the honour.

Rising Academy Star – Bobby Wales

The Scotland Youth International has continued to catch the eye this season. A lethal combination of pace and an eye for goal has resulted in the 17-year-old finding the net on 25 occasions while representing the reserve and development squads this season.

In addition to making his first senior start at Tynecastle in December, Bobby also played an important role in the successful SPFL Reserve Cup run, which saw him score a double in the final against Dunfermline Athletic.

Bobby’s award was presented by Jim Thomson, Chair of official Academy partner, the Killie Trust.

Young Player of the Year – David Watson

He’s one of our own, and he’s here to stay. Having joined the club as a 7-year-old, David progressed through the youth pathway to become captain of the Under-18 and reserve teams, before breaking into the first-team this season.

The 18-year-old hasn’t looked back since a Man of the Match performance against St Johnstone in March, holding his place in the heart of the midfield ever since.

Topping off a week in which he also penned a contract extension, Willie Hamilton from Hamilton Tarmac added to David’s celebrations by presenting the award. 

Goal of the Season – Liam Polworth vs Motherwell (December 2022)

It was the goal that saved Christmas. Liam Polworth’s 25-yard strike completed a comeback from two goals down as 10-man Killie earned a point at Fir Park on Friday 23rd December.

Liam collected his award from Roddy Frew from James Frew Ltd.

Player of the Year – Danny Armstrong 

It has been a breakthrough season for Killie’s number 11 who has thrived since making the step up from the Championship. The winger currently leads Killie’s goal and assist rankings this season.

The 25-year-old has hit double figures in all competitions, having bagged winners on several occasions including the League Cup victory against Dundee United in October which sent his club back to Hampden for the first time in a decade.

Danny was presented his award by John Gall from Brownings the Bakers.

Women’s Player of the Year – Abby Robinson

Awareness, vision and a rocket of a right foot, the midfield maestro has shown it all this season.

Described by her manager as being “energetic and infectious” in the middle of the park, Abby has been an ever-present pillar of Jim Chapman’s side throughout the campaign.

Fond of a long-range strike, the box-to-box midfielder has made a valuable goal contribution from midfield, which helped to guarantee a top-half finish in SWPL2.

David and Yvonne Howie proudly presented Abby with her award.

Recognition Award – Kirsty Munro

One of Rugby Park’s familiar faces, Kirsty is celebrating a 27-year association with the club.

Joining the girls’ community football team as a 7-year-old, the Kilmarnock Women FC winger progressed through the ranks to make her senior debut ten years later. Her journey with the club has so far included two promotions and substantial development of the women’s programme, which was recently expanded to umbrella the new girls’ academy.

As a role model inspiring young girls in the community to follow their passion, and the academy’s Administrator & Parent Liaison Officer who has been key in evolving the boy’s youth pathway, Kirsty has been recognised as a true club stalwart.

Kirsty was also presented her award by David and Yvonne Howie.