Tommy Wright’s team were relegated from the Premiership via the play-offs by Dundee last season and the Northern Irishman has gone on an extensive rebuilding process as they look to earn promotion at the first time of asking.
Stalwarts such as Kirk Broadfoot, Alan Power and Gary Dicker have left the club during the summer, with English centre-half Chris Stokes coming in as captain along with a host of new signings. Goalkeeper Zach Hemming, defenders Dylan McGowan and Euan Murray, midfielders Blair Alston, Stephen McGinn, Dan Armstrong, Brad Lyons and Fraser Murray have all arrived, while Scott Robinson and Middlesbrough loanee Rumarn Burrell bolster the attack.
Wright is still looking to reinforce in the final third, with Burrell expected to lead the line against Ayr. The Honest Men, under the stewardship of David Hopkin, made it out of their Premier Sports Cup group and will look to improve on last season’s league campaign, when they flirted dangerously with relegation.
Home fans are permitted to attend the match, live on BBC Scotland, but away supporters are locked out and Kilmarnock are urging those without tickets not to travel to the ground.
The opening weekend of the second tier has already been dramatic. Hamilton Accies fought back from 4-0 down away at Raith Rovers to earn a 4-4 draw, while Partick Thistle began life in the Championship with a 3-2 win over Queen of the South at Firhill. Inverness won 1-0 at Arbroath, while Morton and Dunfermline Athletic drew 2-2 at Cappielow.