Kilmarnock set out to end the curse of the Old Firm

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The Independent Online
Tom Brown believes Kilmarnock can banish their Old Firm hoodoo today against champions Rangers at Ibrox. The Premier Division leaders entertain Kilmarnock only two points clear of rivals Celtic, who travel to Raith.

Brown insists Alex Totten's side can succeed where they failed recently against Celtic to claim their first win in 14 attempts against either of the big Glasgow clubs. "Beating either Rangers or Celtic can give you a massive lift and we must believe we can go to Ibrox and win," Brown said. "I was in our team which won 2-1 there a couple of seasons ago, but in recent games against Rangers we have tended to lose concentration at vital times and you cannot afford that."

Kilmarnock were 2-0 up at Celtic earlier this month, Brown's header putting them firmly in the driving seat after Ally Mitchell's opening goal, but they conceded two goals in 60 seconds two minutes before half-time and ended up losing 4-2 to the title-chasing Bhoys.

"None of us could believe what happened that day and we were all gutted in the dressing-room afterwards," Brown said. "We feel if we had held the 2-0 lead to half-time we would definitely have come away from Parkhead with at least a draw and maybe even a win.

"Since then we have beaten Falkirk and Partick but were hammered at Aberdeen in between. We need to show some consistency, as the season is entering a vital period for us with a handful of clubs bunched together near the bottom."

Kilmarnock have battled their way to survival in the last two seasons and he believes points won over the Christmas period could prove the difference between survival and relegation. "It is very important at this stage when you play a number of games in a short period. Any points you can pick up now can set you up for the later stages."

Rangers have Paul Gascoigne and Oleg Salenko available after suspension, but Ally McCoist and Stuart McCall are out with calf injuries. Gary Bollan and Alex Cleland are doubtful, but Rangers will welcome back Gascoigne, who has been banned for two matches.

Celtic have no injury worries ahead of their visit to Raith, although Peter Grant and John Hughes complete three-match suspensions.