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Clarke hopes to avoid further abuse when Killie return to Rangers

Steve Clarke hopes there will be no repeat of the abuse he received from Rangers fans at Ibrox last month when his Kilmarnock side return to Govan on Saturday.

Following the 5-0 William Hill Scottish Cup defeat on February 20 the Killie boss hit out at the home fans after being taunted with chants of “sad Fenian b******”.

The former West Brom manager said it was like living in the “dark ages”, with Rangers responding by saying they wished “to make it clear unacceptable behaviour will not be tolerated at Ibrox.”

Ahead of the Ladbrokes Premiership encounter, Clarke said: “Hopefully that will pass by without incident. I haven’t really thought about it to be honest.

“It was well-documented at the time, it was spoken about at the time. I have had a lot of really good support over what I said after the game.

“You’d like to think that the Rangers supporters will go there to support the team.

“It was a tough night, a couple of decisions going against us and we obviously lost the game badly so I am looking forward to going back and hopefully put a few things right.

“It is important that we keep picking up points. We got back to winning ways on Monday night in a tough game against St Mirren and it will be another tough game.”

Clarke is certain Rangers will be “looking for a reaction” following their 2-0 home defeat by Aberdeen in Tuesday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final replay.

The Rugby Park manager was “not particularly surprised” by the Dons win, saying: “Aberdeen are a really good team.

“I thought they were excellent on the night and as normally happens up here in Scotland, when Celtic or Rangers lose a big game it is all about how bad they were.”

However, he was perplexed at the alleged sectarian chanting aimed at Rangers manager Steven Gerrard by Aberdeen fans, an offence which will be investigated by Police Scotland.

He said: “It is good that it is highlighted. I think people who hear it should call it out every time and the police should investigate every single incident.

“Why Aberdeen fans are chanting sectarian songs at Steven Gerrard I have no idea.

“They should have been having a wonderful night enjoying their team winning at Ibrox and supporting their team and singing their team’s songs.

“Why they would want to chant against the opposition manager in that way, I have no idea.”