NICKY Clark has told Dundee United to expect Ibrox to be “bouncing” when they take on Rangers in their keenly-awaited William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final clash next month.
The home of the Scottish League One champions was announced as the venue for the last-four ties last October, with Celtic Park hosting the final, as Hampden Park will be out of commission for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
However, tensions were running high last week after Rangers came through their quarter-final replay against Albion Rovers at New Douglas Park.
It was revealed that United had tried to get the semi-final changed to a neutral venue and the numerical advantage the Light Blues will have in the stands on April 12 was also questioned by Terrors’ chairman Stephen Thompson and manager Jackie McNamara, with the former claiming he will sit among the Tayside fans rather than take his place in the directors’ box.
Clark, who came off the bench to score the winner in the 2-1 league win over Brechin City at Glebe Park on Sunday, as he did when the two teams met there earlier in the season, believes the big Gers support in the semi will boost their chances against the Premiership side who showed their talents in their 2-1 win over Hearts at Tynecastle on Friday.
“It will be a tough game, everybody knows that, but I don’t think Dundee United will be looking at it as an easy game,” said the 22-year-old striker.
“They know we will be up for it. It is at Ibrox so we have a good chance and the fans will be right behind us from the start.
“The place will be bouncing. So we are all looking forward to it.
“I watched a bit of United on Friday (on television) and they are doing well.
“They have a lot of good individual players and a lot of good young players coming through as well.
“They are a good team. We know that and I am sure we will be ready for that when the time comes. “
Clark returned to Ally McCoist’s squad in recent weeks following his recovery from a broken bone in his foot, which sidelined him for two months.
And with a Ramsdens Cup final against Raith Rovers at Easter Road coming up in a fortnight’s time, and Nicky Law and Ian Black joining the growing injury lost at Ibrox after picking up injuries at Brechin, the former Queen of the South forward admits he has timed his recovery well.
“Hopefully with the injuries I get a few games and get on from the start,” he said.
“I have been out for a long time so it was important to get a bit of match fitness under my belt first and in the last couple of games I have felt fine.
“It was a frustrating be out for so long but there are big games coming up and this is a good time to get back in and hopefully score a few more goals.
“There is a cup final and a semi-final and any footballer wants to be involved in those sort of games.
“But I just need to keep my head down, keep working hard and get a couple more goals and as a team, get good momentum going into those games.”