The Ayrshire side had high hopes of reaching the semi-finals for the first time since they last lifted the trophy back in 1997 and a crowd of almost 9000 – around twice their average attendance – rolled up at Rugby Park for the quarter-final replay against Aberdeen.
The home support were left disappointed as Kilmarnock lost out on penalties after extra-time but veteran striker Boyd insists there is no reason for them to be disheartened for long. It was only the fourth defeat Clarke has suffered in 24 matches since his appointment as manager last October and Killie remain in contention for a top-four finish in the Premiership.
“I don’t think you can look on Tuesday’s result as a huge setback,” said Boyd, pictured. “Yes, we are disappointed to lose the game but I think there is a genuine belief around here that we have come a long way in a short period of time. We can kick on and hopefully use nights like Tuesday to get the same amount of people back to come and see us on a Saturday at Rugby Park. I’ve said for a few years now, we want the fans to come back, but at the end of the day if the product wasn’t right on the pitch, then you can understand why they wouldn’t come back. But I think that has totally changed now. We want more nights like Tuesday night – obviously with a different result – but there has been a big difference in performance over the past few months and, hopefully, we can finish the season strong and set ourselves up for next season.
“The last few months have been good, but we want to finish the season strongly. We are fifth in the league and hopefully we can consolidate that. If we can get a couple more wins it will give us an opportunity to try to get to fourth place, so you never know.”
Boyd drew a blank on Tuesday but the 34-year-old has scored 19 goals this season and the return to his prolific form of old under Clarke had even prompted some speculation of a recall to the Scotland squad. But the former Rangers striker, who won the last of his 18 caps back in 2010, was not named by Alex McLeish for this month’s friendlies against Costa Rica and Hungary and had no expectation he would. “It wasn’t something I was getting caught up in,” said Boyd. “There is a new generation coming through, so what would be the point in playing someone who is 34?”