sport

Shiels happy with Killie form

Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels thinks his team can "over-achieve" this season as they begin 2013 in the top six of the Scottish Premier League.

Killie are unbeaten in four difficult games, against Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibernian and Motherwell, as they travel to St Mirren Park in sixth place.

Last season was one of the most memorable at Rugby Park in many years with Killie winning the Scottish League Cup but the Ayrshire side missed out on consecutive top-six spots and Shiels has his sights set on a finish in the upper half.

Kilmarnock have beaten Aberdeen, Hearts, Celtic and Dundee United this season and Shiels has been pleased with their progress in the first half of the campaign.

"We have beaten four of the five heavyweights and we have drawn with the other ones," he said.

"So we have done well. We have won at Aberdeen, we have won at Hearts, we have won at Celtic.

"Our performances have been good and I'm more than happy with where we are at. With a game in hand, we are sixth.

"We are in the mix and it would be great to be in the mix coming into the end of March.

"If we were in and around that position, we would see that as an over-achievement. It would be great."

St Mirren are similarly on form going into the holiday fixture having lost just once, against Celtic, in seven SPL matches to put themselves three points behind Kilmarnock.

Shiels said: "St Mirren are a good footballing side and Steven Thompson is really in form and doing very well. They have got very good players. "The SPL is full of good players and St Mirren have more than their fair share of them. We know the qualities they have and we know we have to be on our game to try and match them.

"If you look at the quality that they have, it's a very difficult away game for us. We go there to hopefully consolidate our position in the top six if we can."