Dundee boss Tony Docherty acknowledges ‘really difficult’ test at Kilmarnock

Tony Docherty does not have to look back too far to recognise how difficult a task Dundee face against Kilmarnock in the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup at Rugby Park on Saturday.

The Taysiders’ last outing was at the same venue on December 30 where a last-gasp leveller from captain Joe Shaughnessy in the 2-2 cinch Premiership draw took a point back to Dens Park.

The two sides also drew 2-2 in Dundee in September when Zak Rudden’s strike in the second minute of stoppage time for the 10-man hosts gave The Dee a share of the spoils again.

Boss Docherty, formerly a long-time assistant to Killie boss Derek McInnes, said: “To get anywhere in the cup you have to play difficult teams in difficult venues and I don’t think you would get a more difficult one outwith the Old Firm than Kilmarnock away from home, on their pitch.

“We’ve just played them in our most recent game so we know the task ahead of us and we know we’ll have to be our best and do a lot of things right to progress.

“We’ve got a really difficult game ahead of us. But if we apply ourselves like we had the previous two encounters against Kilmarnock – listen, it will be a terrific game, a really competitive match – hopefully we can edge it.

“The first game we played at Dens, I thought we were the better team until the sending off and then they took ownership of the game a wee bit, but we managed to recover with a true spirit I’ve got within the group.

“I thought for the majority of the game down there, certainly first half, we played really well.

“Again Kilmarnock, good side, a good manager, they came at us but we again come up with answers to get that that goal against them.

“It has been good games against them. It’s two very competitive teams with good players on show and I don’t expect anything different this Saturday.

“I know Derek well and he knows me. It will be competitive, two teams will be set up to go and win the tie and get to the next round.

“So for me, it’s the tie of the round. I know there’s other games being televised but for me it’s a tie of the round, particularly with reference to the last two games that we’ve had.

“But as I said, there’s a lot of things that we’ll need to do right to progress but that the intention, to progress to the next round.”

Veteran striker Curtis Main could make his Dundee debut after signing earlier in the week after leaving Indian Super League club Bengaluru, while Docherty has continued adding to his squad by signing 20-year-old left-back Owen Dodgson from Burnley.

Defender Ryan Astley, who arrived from Everton on Thursday, is awaiting international clearance.

Aaron Donnelly and Ricki Lamie are doubts while Diego Pineda is still sidelined and Antonio Portales remains out with a hamstring injury.

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