THEIR fifth round Scottish Cup clash with Kilmarnock may have ended in defeat but Brora Rangers excited the competition with their heads held high.

A 4-0 win for the Premiership team may sound decisive but it took a considerable time for them to stamp their authority on the game. Brora, who currently lie in seventh place in the Highland League but had taken the scalps of League One sides East Fife and Stranraer in previous rounds, offered considerable resistance but ultimately, their cup run came to an end at Rugby park on Saturday.

However, for Brora midfielder Zander Sutherland, he could not have been more proud of the club and its supporters, almost 500 of whom travelled the 250-odd miles to Kilmarnock for the game and who, during this Scottish Cup run, have racked up thousands of miles to support their team.

“It’s a proud moment for the club, myself and my family – a great occasion,” he said. “They’re a great crowd - they follow us through thick and thin.

“We’ve had our good moments and bad moments and they’ve travelled to Stranraer, East Fife (this season) – we’ve done over 2,000 miles. It costs them a lot of money and the passion they’ve got for football in Brora is unbelievable. I’m from Helmsdale so I know pretty much everybody in the stand.”

Bora frustrated Kilmarnock for much of the first half, with the Premiership unable to create any more than a few half chances but just a few minutes before half-time, the killer blow came when Aaron Tshibola found the back of the net. It changes the game entirely and Killie then came out in the second half full of confidence where they ran away with the game.

Losing that goal so close to half-time was, admitted Sutherland, the worst possible scenario. “It was unfortunate it ended up 4-0 because in the first half I thought we played really well, we came out of the traps and caused them a bit of problems,” he said. Unfortunately they scored a late goal otherwise it could have been a different second half.

“Our gameplan from the start was to come out and try to frustrate Kilmarnock. They’re a fantastic side, the form side in Scottish football with Steve Clarke coming in.

“Their team talk would have been completely different had they gone in 0-0 at half time against a Highland League team. To concede that goal so late in the first half was disappointing but credit to them – they’re a fantastic side.”

Kilmarnock meanwhile, are now only two games away from a cup final and with the Ayrshire team the form team in Scotland at the moment, midfielder Gary Dicker believes there is no reason why they cannot be at Hampden in May. “Definitely we could do something in the cup,” he said.

“Look at the results - they speak for themselves, even the ones against the top teams.

“I don’t think many people gave us a chance here before but we have now won six on the bounce at home when we couldn’t win a game here at one point. I think we only won four here at home last season, so that is a massive turnaround.

“Who knows if we can win it. There is no reason why not. You have got to believe you can win something.

“That was one of the reasons I came up here – you have a chance of getting to Europe or winning a cup. Our aim is to stay in the league, though - anything else is a bonus.”

With a vital league match against Dundee tomorrow though, that is all Dicker is focused on for now. “This league is crazy,” he said. “One team wins and you feel you are being sucked back in, so we are not looking too far ahead. We have a few games in hand and we need to pick up points.”