The last time Kilmarnock hosted Rangers it was a dark, freezing cold winter’s night in January.

Danny Armstrong lit up Rugby Park in the early stages as he dazzled on the right wing for Killie, tearing Borna Barisic apart time and time again.

He picked up a silly yellow card in the first half after pulling down Ryan Kent needlessly inside Rangers’ half.

As the clock struck 59 minutes, a moment of madness saw the 25-year-old given his marching orders by referee Kevin Clancy. The winger was late with his challenge on Barisic, as he stuck his forearm into the area of his neck.

It’s something Armstrong regrets, but not something he can change. And Killie’s talisman certainly won’t back off from giving as good as he gets when facing up against opposition players.

“It’s one we can all look forward to, live on Sky in front of a big crowd, I’m personally looking forward to it,” he said. “I can’t imagine Rangers being cold to be honest, they’re a great side and they’ve got lots about them. They’ve got a new squad but they’ll have been working just as hard as us during pre-season. Rangers will need to be at their best and we will need to be at our best too. 

“Playing Rangers is massive in a game like this, if we can get anything from it then it’ll give us a confidence boost heading into the other games. No game is easy in this league, but you can either shy away from a challenge or look forward to it, and this dressing room is looking forward to it. 

“I’ve had conversations with the manager about the fire in my belly, I don’t want to lose that. I can be firey sometimes, yeah. It was silly getting sent off, it’s one thing I certainly didn’t mean. I didn’t intend for that to happen. All I can do is learn from it.  

“You need to get the balance right sometimes so you don’t tip over the edge. We need to use the energy that’s going to be inside this stadium as positively as possible rather than negatively. 

“I felt I was having a good game that night, I ended up getting sent off and who knows, if I’d been on the pitch we might have got something from the game.  

“It’s a regret of mine. It was a tough one to take at the time, missing the game the week after but hopefully I made it up to the team afterwards.” 

McInnes has previously spoken of setting Armstrong the challenge of at least matching his output last term if not bettering it this season.

The player himself is well-aware that he will attract some additional attention from his markers, with some teams even doubling or tripling up on him.

READ MORE: Derek McInnes sets Rangers & Celtic challenge for Kilmarnock

He said: “Teams will probably look at me a bit differently this season. I felt that teams were more focused on stopping me in some of the games last year.  

“It’s a challenge that gives me confidence. You know if that’s happening to you then you must be doing something right.  

“The better I do, maybe people will focus on me more. It gives me a challenge to overcome and I’m looking forward to it.  

“I’ll need to make my game better. I’ll need to think of new ways to work as hard as possible to do as well as last season, or even better.” 

It’s been well-documented that Armstrong and Matty Kennedy are close friends away from football.

Killie’s threat from the wider areas has definitely grown with the arrival of the latter. He will more than likely feature on the left, with Armstrong on the right, allowing both the opportunity to cut in on their favoured foot.

He added: “Matty being in the team won’t take anything away from me. The more goals and assists that we can get for the team the better. Hopefully Matty can set me up for a couple and I’m sure I can set him up as well.  

“It’s all about working together. The more crosses he can get into the box, the more chances I’ll have of scoring. We’re looking forward to playing together.”