EXCLUSIVE: Rangers legend Derek Johnstone reckons a lack of cup fans can inspire the Light Blues at Tannadice

AS A player, you like to have a vocal set of supporters behind you to cheer you on as you work hard for your team.

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Tannadice won't be filled with Rangers fans in February
Tannadice won't be filled with Rangers fans in February

Away from home especially, it is always good to have a pocket of fans there behind you. It definitely helps your chances.

So I think Rangers will miss an away support in their difficult William Hill Scottish Cup game against SPL rivals Dundee United at Tannadice next year.

But, having said that, I can completely understand why the Ibrox club and their many followers have decided to boycott the February fixture.

I agree with the stance they have taken. United chairman Stephen Thompson was dead against Rangers being allowed back into the top flight in the summer.

Yes, other top clubs were against it, too. But he was often more vociferous than his fellow chairmen. Sometimes he was a lone voice.

We were only hearing what he had to say publicly, too. Charles Green may have heard a lot more from him behind closed doors.

So why should Rangers fans go to Tannadice and fill his pockets now?

I had to laugh when I heard that Thompson was complaining to the SFA about having to give half the gate receipts to Rangers.

There were no problems when Dundee United were taking 200 fans or so to Ibrox and receiving £100,000 from a stadium packed full of 50,000 fans.

He seems to have forgotten all about that!

Thompson has to go to his fans now and ask them to take up the tickets for the spare seats and sell out the ground for a game that will be shown live on Sky Sports.

It will be very interesting indeed to see how he fares with that.

I actually think the fact there are no Rangers fans at Tannadice may spur the players on. It will be a hard game and they will certainly be the underdogs.

But it will not be a surprise if they come away with a result on Tayside. They will have had weeks to think about it and prepare themselves. They may have a point to prove.

Rangers fans deserve credit for making their position on this game very clear immediately after the draw was made on Monday afternoon.

Before Green had come out and said the club would not take up any of their allocation, three of four different supporters' bodies had declared they would not travel.

A run in the Scottish Cup would be nice and would, too, bring in some welcomes funds. But the priority this season is winning the Third Division title.

The Scottish Communities League Cup game against Inverness Caledonian Thistle and, before that, the Ramsdens Cup match against Queen of the South, showed where the team is at just now.

With a transfer embargo in place, Ally McCoist has had to put his faith in kids. They struggled in both of those matches against rivals from higher divisions.

But that is no disgrace. In the game against East Stirlingshire at Ochilview they had six players under 20. They will benefit in the long run.

retail

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