in #KillieStories March 14, 2018
Steve Clarke expressed his pride in his Kilmarnock players after their Scottish Cup quarter-final defeat to Aberdeen on penalties.
Stephen O'Donnell put Killie ahead in extra time only for Kenny McLean to equalise from the spot to take the match to a shootout.
Having picked up wins over St Johnstone and Ross County heading into the match, Killie have had to face successive midweek matches following our trip to Tynecastle in late February.
"I just felt towards the end we looked a little bit jaded, mentally and physically," Clarke said."We had six games in 18 days, it's a big ask to play extra-time. That's why I am proud of the players, I thought they were magnificent.
"Aberdeen in the same period of time played three games. Maybe towards the end that was just a crucial little factor in the outcome.
"So, thanks to the fixture panels and the Scottish league and the SFA, we have had a hell of a run of games."
A crowd of 8998 were inside Rugby Park with Clarke keen to praise the impact of the home supporters.
He added: "It's a great little reminder for everyone around Kilmarnock, everybody around this part of the world that we're a decent club.
"We're a club that if we can get it right on the pitch, we've shown with the crowd tonight that we can get it right off the pitch and we can be regulars in the top six and in the latter stages of the domestic cups.
"That's got to be the ambition for everybody here. Tonight is a little step in the right direction.
"The more often you get to quarter finals and semi finals the more likely that you progress in the tournament so that's what we have to do."