Kilmarnock boss Steve Clarke insists that Celtic’s celebrations after their last-minute winner shows that Celtic knew how hard-fought a win it was – and is the reason why Rangers will respect them in tonight’s Scottish Cup replay.

Clarke’s side are the form team in Scotland over the last 12 months and have made a habit of taking points off both sides of the Old Firm since he took the reins.

KILMARNOCK, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 17: Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers and Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke are seen prior to the Scottish Ladbrokes Premiership match between Kilmarnock and Celtic at Rugby Park on February 17, 2019 in Kilmarnock, Scotland.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Despite knowing his side will be in for another battle at Ibrox, he wants his players to enjoy the occasion.

“When Celtic scored in the last minute on Sunday they celebrated the way they did because they knew it was a big result to come to Rugby Park and beat us,” Clarke told the Daily Record.

“Similarly, we’re going to Ibrox and Rangers will respect us and so will their fans.

6th February 2019, Dens Park, Dundee, Scotland; Ladbrokes Premiership football, Dundee versus Kilmarnock; Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke sends in instructions for his team

(photo by David Young/Action Plus via Getty Images)

“That doesn’t mean they won’t give us a hard time because they will. But I want my players to go there and enjoy it.”

A win tonight would set Kilmarnock up for a quarter-final clash with Aberdeen at Pittodrie in ten days time.

KILMARNOCK, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 09: Steven Gerrard, Manager of Rangers shakes hands with Steve Clarke, Manager of Kilmarnock FC prior to the Scottish Cup 5th Round match between Kilmarnock and Rangers at Rugby Park on February 9, 2019 in Kilmarnock, Scotland.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

If they can get by the Gers then Killie must surely fancy their chances of lifting the trophy for the first time since 1997.

Scottish Cup success would be a fitting reward for Clarke’s impressive work at Rugby Park.

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