RYAN Dow believes Dunfermline must get the Ibrox fans to turn on the Rangers players in their Premier Sports Cup match tonight if they are to enjoy the same success the Dundee United side he was a member of did in a Scottish Cup semi-final in Govan seven years ago.

The midfielder played for United in a 3-1 victory over the Glasgow giants – who were in the third tier at the time – back in 2014 and he is hoping to be involved in another victory when he squares up to them in the second round League Cup tie this evening.

Steven Gerrard’s team are under pressure to get a result against Peter Grant’s side after losing three games in a row – they were beaten home and away by Malmo in Champions League qualifying and were defeated by United in the Premiership at the weekend.

The Scottish champions’ ability to cope with crowds has been called into question this month and Dow feels if the visitors can prevent their opponents from scoring and possibly snatch a goal supporters will pile pressure on James Tavernier and his team mates.

‘You are always after a good start if you’re an away team,” he said. “That is true at any ground, but especially at Ibrox where there will be potentially 50,000 fans there. You want a really good start.

“If there is an atmosphere you want to dampen it down and get them to maybe turn on their players if you manage to nick a goal. It will be tough, but, as an away team, you want to stifle them for the first 20 minutes and make it difficult.”

Dow, who returned from a six month injury lay-off in Dunfermline’s 3-0 defeat by Championship rivals Partick Thistle at East End Park on Saturday, came on for Ryan Gauld in the second-half of the Scottish Cup semi-final win over Rangers at Ibrox in 2014 and has fond memories of the experience.

“It was a really strange day,” he said. “I think we had 11,000 Dundee United fans at Ibrox. But it still felt like an away game at Ibrox in a semi-final. 

“Rangers back then were in League One, but it was great to get the win. I always remember being behind Nadir Ciftci when he scored the goal to make it 3-1. I think I was already on his back before he put it in the net. It was a great feeling because you kind of knew then you were going through to a Scottish Cup final.”

Dow was impressed with how his old club United acquitted themselves against Rangers on Tayside on Saturday and brought an end to their 40 game unbeaten Premiership run with a hard-fought 1-0 win.

He knows Dunfermline have to approach the game exactly the same way if they are to cause an upset.

“Let’s be honest, Rangers need to have an off day because of the quality of the players they have,” he said. “But Dundee United did well against them. They had a shape and they were brave at times.

“We will be going there and hoping to do what Dundee United did last week. We will hope that a few of their players are not on a good day and that all of our players are on a good day.

“Dundee United had a good shape and a good game plan and Rangers were off it. I’m sure that we — and every other team in the country — will be trying to do the same. But Rangers are quality and we are hoping they have an off day and we all have a brilliant day.

“Going away to Ibrox we are not going to have loads of the ball or loads of chances, but when chances do come around you are just hoping that you take them.”

Dow, who also helped Ross County draw with Rangers in Ibrox during his time in Dingwall, dismissed suggestions that Gerrard’s men are unable to perform at their best in front of crowds.

He said: “I don’t think anyone who has played football in the last 10 to 18 months would be saying: ‘I wish there were no fans there’. At any club up and down the country if you’re not winning there is going to be pressure, especially at home.

“But if you look at it the other way, if you’re the away side and they get in front it’s so hard when the crowd is with them. You could flip it both ways. Every team that plays at home and does not start will be put under pressure, but that’s natural, that happens everywhere.

“But I don’t think anyone will turn around and say they don’t want to play in front of a crowd, especially after the last 18 months. It’s much better to have them.”