Avenger Ke­own set for Gers bat­tle

Jags ace Niall out to wipe out mem­ory of dou­ble de­feat agony

Evening Times - - SPORT - By SCOTT MULLEN

PARTICK THIS­TLE are on a re­venge mis­sion to­mor­row night as they hope to give Rangers a taste of their own medicine.

That was the mes­sage from Jags de­fender Niall Ke­own who is keen to make up for the late heartache the Gers twice in­flicted upon their Glas­gow ri­vals last term.

On both oc­ca­sions Rangers vis­ited Firhill – now the En­ergy Check Sta­dium at Firhill – they came from a goal be­hind to steal all three points. In fact, all four goals from the Ibrox out­fit in the fix­tures came in the fi­nal 10 min­utes.

This­tle are des­per­ate to make amends and Ke­own said: “It’s a good op­por­tu­nity for us to put right what went wrong for us last sea­son.

“I didn’t play in the first one but the sec­ond game to­wards the end of last sea­son I re­mem­ber we were gut­ted in the way they got their late goals.

“The first one came when they were on the break and the win­ner was a re­sult of Rangers just pil­ing bod­ies for­ward.

“Of course, this is a com­pletely dif­fer­ent Rangers team, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to put things right. It’s a big game for us.

“We’ve had a dif­fi­cult start in the league, prob­a­bly the trick­i­est we pos­si­bly could have had. The first few games haven’t been favourable.

“We are not go­ing in with any fear at all. We’re never scared no mat­ter who the op­po­nents are.

“If I re­mem­ber rightly back to that last game against Rangers, in the first half we could have been two or three up. We showed we could be very ef­fec­tive against them.”

Over­com­ing their Rangers hoodoo to­mor­row night would be good tim­ing given the cur­rent predica­ment faced by man­ager Alan Archibald’s men.

AT THE mo­ment the Jags sit joint bot­tom of the Lad­brokes Premier­ship with just one point from five games.

It is a slow start that has come to be ex­pected from the Mary­hill side, and one that isn’t caus­ing panic in the ranks. How­ever, if ever there was a morale booster to set­tle anx­ious nerves in the stand, this could be it.

“I’ve heard we start slowly nor­mally but if you look at the fix­tures in­di­vid­u­ally then they were never go­ing to be guar­an­teed wins.

“Hibs away, Celtic, Aberdeen St Johnstone, spread them out through­out the sea­son and lose them and no­body would have bat­ted an eye­lid.

“We know what we can do as a group of play­ers. We are all stick­ing to­gether.”

This is the first of two meet­ings within the space of a week be­tween the two Glas­gow clubs. While to­mor­row night is a Premier­ship date, they will go head to head on Tues­day for a place in the Bet­fred Cup semi-fi­nals.

Though win­ning that clash would take them a step closer to a League Cup tri­umph for only the sec­ond time in their his­tory, Ke­own is not get­ting car­ried away. In­stead, fo­cus­ing on kick­start­ing their league cam­paign is his pri­mary con­cern.

“It would be a good spring­board for next week if we man­aged to get a pos­i­tive re­sult to­mor­row,” he said.

“That’s a great op­por­tu­nity to go far in the cup, it would be fan­tas­tic. But we can’t af­ford to look too far ahead. We know we need to pick up points in the league, and that will be the only thing on our minds.”

Niall Ke­own was gut­ted to lose out twice to Rangers last sea­son

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