Clarke believes cup quarter-final was a step in right direction for Kilmarnock

Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke hopes the sense of occasion at Rugby Park on Tuesday can drive his team on to regular appearances in the latter stages of cup competitions.

More than 7,500 Kilmarnock fans attended the William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final replay against Aberdeen, with about 1,500 turning out to support the Dons and adding to the cup-tie atmosphere.

Killie ultimately missed out on their first Scottish Cup semi-final since 1997 following a penalty shoot-out reverse but Clarke hopes the experience whets his players’ appetites.

Clarke said: “It’s a great little reminder for everybody around Kilmarnock, everybody around this part of the world.

“We are a decent club and if we can get it right on the pitch, we have shown with the crowd coming out, we can get it right off the pitch. We can get good crowds here, we can be regulars in the top six, we can be regulars getting to the later stages of domestic cup competitions.

“That has got to be the ambition for everybody here.

“That was a little step in the right direction. The more often you get to quarter-finals and semi-finals, the more likely it is that eventually you start to progress further.”

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