STEVE Clarke last night praised the Kilmarnock board’s decision to reduce the number of tickets handed to Celtic and Rangers supporters for games at Rugby Park.

Billy Bowie, the Kilmarnock owner, has revealed that followers of the Parkhead and Ibrox clubs will only get 4,000 briefs, around half of what they previously received, in the future.

The Ayrshire businessman has taken the decision following a controversial Ladbrokes Premiership game against the Scottish champions back in February.

Kris Boyd, the Kilmarnock striker, was struck by a coin as he warmed up at the side of the park in the first-half and Celtic fans spilled onto the pitch after Scott Brown scored a late winner.

Bowie revealed that Kilmarnock fans had felt intimidated during matches against the Old Firm clubs and stated he wanted to create a more family friendly environment even if it meant losing out financially.

He is also keen to create a party atmosphere in Kilmarnock’s final Premiership game against Rangers on Sunday, May 19 – when the oldest top flight club will celebrate their 150th anniversary.

Rangers, who will only be offered tickets for the Chadwick Stand, responded by revealing they will consider whether to take a full allocation of tickets for games at Rugby Park in future.

However, Clarke, whose side are bidding to secure a place in Europe for the first time in 17 years, believes Bowie and his fellow directors should be applauded for the move.

"It's not about Rangers,” he said. “It's about Kilmarnock. It's a decision to suit our football club and our fans, that's the important thing. It has got nothing to do with Rangers. I am not surprised by their response. The nonsense that has followed is typical Scotland I suppose.

“That is a fantastic commitment from the Kilmarnock board of directors to do that. It must be really difficult for them. It is a club that lives on a really tight budget.

“For those people to stand up and say ‘no, no, the Rugby Park experience should be for Kilmarnock fans not the opposition fans’ is a big statement to make. I am really pleased they have done it. It is a big statement to make.”