Kris Boyd proved the old adage that form is temporary but class is permanent by turning in the most economical of match-winning performances at Rugby Park.
Following a disappointing season with Rangers, there were some who questioned the wisdom of bringing him back to the Ayrshire club for the third time.
“That’s why I tried to sign him for Hearts,” said manager Gary Locke. “One thing we never had here last year was a regular goalscorer.
“He had quite a quiet game but he scored two goals and had a hand in the other one so I’ll take that every day of the week.
“Players like him are worth their weight in gold and that’s why I brought him back here. Two chances, two goals: I know what his qualities are and if he can bring them to the team every week I’ll be delighted.”
Killie took the lead in their first attack when former Hearts midfielder Scott Robinson sent Josh Magennis clear on the right and his low cross was turned home by Boyd from point-blank range.
At the other end, goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald – who had also played for Locke at Tynecastle – stayed tall to beat away an angled drive by Alexander Della Verde at his near post.
The visitors equalised when Amari’i Bell beat Mark O’Hara to Jamie Proctor’s through ball and lashed it behind MacDonald from 15 yards. Declan McManus ought to have put the visitors in front but the 20-year-old, last season’s PFA League One Player of the Year while on loan to Morton from Aberdeen, saw his effort from Bell’s cross smothered by MacDonald.
The hosts were outnumbered and outpassed in midfield, where assistant manager Lee McCulloch was a surprise selection in a central role.
MacDonald excelled once again in the 47th minute when he threw himself to his right to claw away a netbound drive by Antoni Sarcevic.
With Fleetwood continuing to dictate the tempo, Locke sent Jamie Hamill on for McCulloch four minutes later.
McManus contrived to outdo his earlier miss when he shot wide from three yards after getting on the end of a Della Verde cross.
Fleetwood were made to pay for their profligacy when the home side regained the lead.
Mark Connolly shot from 25 yards and, when goalkeeper Chris Maxwell could only push the ball back out to Boyd, he made no mistake from the rebound.
Chris Johnston put the outcome beyond doubt when he shot under the advancing Maxwell after taking a return pass from Boyd.
The scoreline may not have been an accurate reflection of the play but there were few complaints from the home fans.