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Tony Docherty insists Kilmarnock’s players are desperate for a return to Hampden Park this season ahead of their Scottish Cup fifth-round tie against Dundee United on Saturday.

Killie reached the last four of the Viaplay Cup only to be beaten 2-0 by Celtic at the national stadium in January.

Looking forward to the trip to Tannadice, assistant boss Docherty revealed the Rugby Park players have had their sights set on another Hampden appearance since their disappointment against the Hoops.

He said: “The boys are itching to get back, they are desperate to get into that environment and go one further.

“A lot of the boys in the dressing room hadn’t experienced that before.

“It was a great occasion. It is not great when you don’t win but you still need to take the positives from it.

“There are so many boys desperate to get back to that stage and put things right. There is real motivation in the dressing room to do that.

“The narrative in the dressing room was ‘let’s get back there’ and that wasn’t coming from us, that was from the players which is a good thing, that you don’t have to be preaching,

“It’s coming from the players but there’s hurdles in front of us and the first hurdle is Dundee United at Tannadice and we need to take care of business there.”

Killie are ninth in the cinch Premiership table, three points ahead of bottom side Dundee United, whom they beat 1-0 at Rugby Park just over a week ago.

The Ayrshire side have struggled away from home in the league but Docherty urged his players to draw on the experience of the Viaplay Cup win over Hearts at Tynecastle in August.

He said: “We want to reward our travelling support, they haven’t had a lot to cheer about but they did against Hearts and it is something we want to emulate.

“Earlier on in the season in the away tie against Hearts, we went there and got the job done and got ourselves into the quarter-final against Dundee United.

“It was a big result against Hearts and you’ve seen where that led.

“It is important to remind the players about that and focus on the positives and go to Tannadice and hopefully get the result which takes us into the quarter-finals.”