ANDY HALLIDAY is hoping to draw on past memories as Rangers get set to head to Rugby Park tomorrow night in the Scottish Cup.
The last time the Light Blues claimed the top-flight title was at Kilmarnock’s home ground almost five years ago, in a day never to be forgotten by ‘Gers supporters.
The match was all-but sewn up inside seven minutes with Rangers smashing-in three goals in a remarkable opening period – and while Halliday doesn’t see a similar situation developing this time, he is hopeful the 8500 Rangers fans who will descend on Ayrshire tomorrow have a night to remember.
The midfielder explained: “It’s another good away day for the fans, and it’s a ground at which we have had a lot of happy memories in the past, hopefully it’s another one tomorrow.
“I don’t think the fans will expect as many goals in the first seven minutes this time! But the support is nothing new to me, and if you ask any of the boys who have come in this season, they can’t believe the size of the club and the stature of it.
“At the start of the season, I said they [the fans] would maybe have to be patient and buy into what we’re trying to do, but they have been first class with us this season and trust me, it does help on the park when games are a wee bit ugly and a wee bit tighter.
“I think we’ve seen a few times this season when we haven’t been at our free-flowing best, when it hits that 60/70 minute mark, teams start to tire and maybe lose that bit of concentration as we have had so much of the ball.
“But that’s something Kilmarnock never did last weekend and they deserve a lot of credit for that. They were very organised and resilient to the end, but when there is a big crowd behind you, it gives you that extra kick and spur, and it doesn’t help the other team either.”
The 0-0 draw at Ibrox last weekend which forced tomorrow’s replay saw Rangers dominate the game but fail to break down a defence for the first time this season, and Halliday admits the Ayrshire Premiership side were a step-up in class from what Mark Warburton’s side are used to.
He continued: “It was really frustrating. I commend Kilmarnock’s resilience and their organisation, and we said after the game that for as comfortable as we felt, we did find it quite frustrating and quite hard in there.
“I thought they nullified a lot of space for us and that free-flowing football we play was hard to get going. We still dominated the game though and I think it was just a lack of quality on the day – that’s something we’ve not been used to but it’s something we need to put right as that’s the first game this season where we’ve not managed to score a goal.
“We certainly had our chances and in the second half it looked like we were going to grab it. The good thing is we have another go again tomorrow.
“Every team that has come to Ibrox this year has set up that way and tried to be organised and tried to limit our goalscoring chances.
“I would say it was a step-up in quality as they were very well organised, and in the transition of play they managed to get out a few times.
“I thought we were the better team on the day though and hopefully we put that right tomorrow night when we have another go.”