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Derek McInnes salutes Kilmarnock after they close out the season with a point

Derek McInnes is delighted with Kilmarnock’s season (Steve Welsh/PA)
Derek McInnes is delighted with Kilmarnock’s season (Steve Welsh/PA)

Derek McInnes declared his Kilmarnock side Scotland’s team of the year after they ended their fruitful cinch Premiership campaign with a 1-1 draw away to Dundee.

The Rugby Park side – who were 10th last year – will be involved in Europa League qualifying in July after finishing fourth, nine points clear of nearest chasers St Mirren.

McInnes was keen to point out that Killie completed the campaign with a 17-game unbeaten run against non-Old Firm opposition in the league, stretching back to their 1-0 defeat at home to Hearts on 2 December.

“That’s almost six months of football in the league where we’ve only lost to Rangers and Celtic,” said the Killie boss. “That is a remarkable achievement for a club like Kilmarnock and it says so much about those players.

“Throughout that six months, you’re having to deal with so many difficulties, whether it’s Easter Road, Tynecastle and all the different clubs you need to face, and digging deep when you go down to 10 men like we did today.

“To go more or less the whole month of December and now we’re well into May and have only lost to Celtic and Rangers says everything about the team.

“We’re heading straight to our player of the year awards and we’ll enjoy the bus journey there and the night.

“We’ll celebrate together and hand out our individual awards, but the award for the best team and best squad in the country this season is hands down my team.”

Gary Mackay-Steven gave Killie the lead before Luke McCowan equalised – but only after a VAR check overturned the initial decision to disallow it for offside against Scott Tiffoney in the build-up. McCowan then missed a late penalty, shortly after Killie defender Robbie Deas was sent off for a second bookable offence.

“I don’t want to finish the season moaning about VAR – I really don’t – but I thought there was real daylight between Tiffoney and our player,” McInnes said of Dundee’s equaliser. “I am hearing maybe there was a pillar interfering with the lines for VAR, I don’t know.

“Certainly from the angle I have seen from our analyst, it looked offside. I was shocked it was given.”

It was the fourth time this season Killie and Dundee had shared the points.

“It’s been even all season, I think we could have shook hands before the game and said ‘right, ok, let’s take a draw’!” joked Dark Blues boss Tony Docherty.

“Another entertaining game. They were better first half and we were better second half but it was probably a fair result.”