LOSING away in January to the team you defeated at home on the opening day of the cinch Premiership season back in August could be viewed by some as a regression.

Yet, Kilmarnock centre half Corrie Ndaba, who was helpless to prevent Rangers recording a 3-1 triumph in a league encounter at Ibrox on Tuesday afternoon, does certainly not see it that way. 

Ndaba feels Philippe Clement’s side bears no resemblance to the Michael Beale team who Derek McInnes’s men beat 1-0 at Rugby Park five months ago.

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“They look twice the team they were at the start of the season when we played them,” said the Ipswich Town loanee as he gave his thoughts on the game in Govan yesterday.

The Irish defender felt that Kilmarnock, who have beaten Rangers once and Celtic twice during the 2023/24 campaign, could have taken something from the outing at Ibrox if they had been more switched on at the back and clinical in the final third.

He remains convinced the Ayrshire outfit, who are sitting in fourth place in the top flight table, can build on the progress they have made to date this term, improve further and enjoy a successful second half of the season when competitive action resumes following the winter break.

Finishing in the top six and possibly even securing a European place are achievable objectives for Ndaba and his team mates in the coming months and he is determined to deliver both.

The Herald: “Losing to Rangers was a frustrating one,” he said. “I felt we started the game well and we were good for 40 minutes. Then we had a hectic last five minutes in the first half when we conceded two goals that were very preventable.

“I felt if we could have made it to half-time 0-0 it would have given ourselves a great chance. But in conceding those two goals we gave ourselves a mountain to climb. It’s obviously hugely frustrating because we’re now heading into the winter break on the back of a loss.

“I thought we were well placed at one stage. We always know that we are going to create chances, we’ve done that all season. When Kyle (Kilmarnock striker Vassell) was through on goal it as obviously a big chance in the match. But you can miss them. You have to go again and we did.

“We started the second half well. We scored a goal, it went to 2-1 and at that point I felt as though we were on top. But they get a goal straight after we scored so again we’re left kicking ourselves. It was another mountain to climb and that’s why it was frustrating.”

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Ndaba added: “But it’s a good honest group we’ve got, we’ve been doing things well and if we continue to do those things, on and off the pitch then we will get our results. But against teams like Rangers it’s the fine details. 

“Hopefully we can come back again in the top six, play them here and get a result. Obviously you take things game by game, but I believe we can be up there. I think we have the players who are good enough and there’s certainly a belief in the team. We should be up there.”