This piece is an extract from yesterday's The Rugby Road Gates newsletter, which is emailed out at 6pm every Wednesday. To receive our full, free Kilmarnock newsletter straight to your email inbox, click here.

Good evening all, I hope the January blues aren’t hitting too hard.

If you have been feeling down, then at least you have the return of Killie this Saturday to (hopefully) perk you up. Dundee will come to town for the second time in less than a month, this time on Scottish Cup duty.

It’s been 27 years since the famous trophy was last lifted by those in blue and white stripes. Those who were there on that sunny day in May 1997 have the most wonderful stories about their memories of the 1-0 triumph against Falkirk. Looking back at the footage and photos of the open-top bus parade on John Finnie Street, wow.

One of my ex-work colleagues, Alan Kerr (pictured above), was part of the Killie squad that season, having come through the youth ranks to break into the first team. While he didn’t feature in the matchday squad at Ibrox, it remains one of the best moments of his life. ‘Drunk for a week,’ he told me, as he recalled everything he could remember of the day and those that followed. Any time we spoke about that magical occasion, it hit home just how special it was.

While that match wasn’t at Hampden, it’s only been a little shy of 27 years since Killie last appeared at the national stadium for either a cup semi-final or final in the competition. As fans, we would all love another big day out in Mount Florida. Of course, we had a taste of that last year in the Viaplay Cup semis, as well as the club’s 2012 trophy success against Celtic, but the Scottish hits differently.

READ MORE: Rory McKenzie on desire to finish career at Kilmarnock

Saturday’s game against Dundee will likely not be a classic. It could be cagey, and almost certainly there will be rustiness from both sides. What’s important though is that Killie finds a way through the tie so that more memories can be made. I’m sure that’s something we all crave.

Anyway, my latest piece in The Herald with Rory McKenzie has been incredibly well-received. Thank you to everyone for the support, and if you’ve not read it yet, then what have you been doing?

He spoke to me and two other journalists last Friday afternoon, along with Gary Mackay-Steven. Some of his quotes didn’t make the cut, so I thought this would be a good way to share the rest of what he had to say. Enjoy!

Is the manager good to speak to?

It’s difficult when you’re winning games. It’s a lot easier if you’re losing each week and you’re not playing, it feels a lot easier to go chap the manager’s door. We’ve been doing really well. You can’t go banging down the door every second week when you’re winning games because he’s obviously picking the right team and the boys are doing well. I’ve just got to keep training. You will get back in.

Keeping sharp away from the club?

I play golf. Not really though, I like to get my work done here. We’ve got everything here now at the club. You do your extra running when you’re not playing games or if it’s a three-game week and you’re not really training much, you need to do extra running or gym work.

Does the club feel different from the one you walked into?

It does. I think being back here for training, feels like more of a community and family club. We used to train in Glasgow at the Science Parks. It was a great facility but just being around the club, the talk of the new training ground, we’ve seen the investment in the stadium, in the gym and dressing room. Back then I didn’t know any different. But with the investment and even the calibre of player, the manager we’ve got is able to bring in is definitely improving.

Good to have Matty Kennedy back?

Matt and I came through together and had a lot of good times. We’re both from Ayrshire so naturally, we’d end up bumping into each other in coffee shops. I would also talk to him when playing against him. I was never in touch with him a lot, but when you come through the youth system with lads, he’s been away ten years or whatever, but it still feels like I’ve got that connection with him. He’s always been a real talent and he’s been the exact same. He’s definitely improved and I think we’ve yet to see the best from him. He had a long time out with his back and in recent weeks he’s started to really come through for us.

Goal a piece this season

I’m in no position to tease anyone right now! It’s something the manager wants from us, more goal contributions from everyone. Matt does more than score goals. He creates things. I need to start playing more before I start teasing.

Target for second half of the season?

The first six months have been great but you just need to look at the league to know that it’s so tight, there are no targets just yet. This is going to sound really boring, but we’ll take it game-by-game. We want to have a good cup run. We had a taste of that last year and we’d like it again. With the league, it’s so tight. At Kilmarnock, survival has always been a top priority. Then it’s top six, then it’s whatever else, which is a complete bonus. That’s the aim again.