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Page last updated at 07:58 GMT, Friday, 11 April 2008 08:58 UK

Smith pride at Uefa Cup progress

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Smith says he is delighted with the way his players are performing

Rangers manager Walter Smith says it would be one of his "proudest moments" if his side reach the Uefa Cup final.

The Ibrox club reached their first European semi-final for 36 years with a 2-0 win over Sporting, which also kept their Quadruple hopes alive.

"It will be one of my proudest moments if we get to the final. I've been proud of the way the team have handled the pressure of having to win these games.

"It takes the profile of the club up again which is terrific," said Smith.

After drawing the first leg at Ibrox 0-0, Rangers scored two second-half goals in Lisbon to seal victory.

"I thought we played very well. The pitch was excellent and that was reflected in the fact we were passing the ball better," Smith told BBC Sport.

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"There are one or two celebrations in the dressing room and deservedly so."

Smith's side now face Serie A club Fiorentina, who followed up their win over Everton with victory over PSV.

But the manager says they have nothing to fear.

"They have gained in confidence over the season. It's not often we have to play 16 European games and it will be 18 now," said Smith.

"They have not only gained a togetherness as a team but also a confidence that they can compete against decent sides. Personally, I'm delighted for them - they are a great bunch to work with."

The only negative of Rangers' night in Lisbon was the bookings of captain Barry Ferguson and fellow midfielder Kevin Thomson, who will be suspended for the first leg of the semi-final against Fiorentina at Ibrox on 24 April.

"We will miss Barry and Kevin, but it's something you expect and you are bound to get a booking or two," said Smith.

"We have a problem with fixtures, but I thought we played very well tonight.

"There's a terrific determination among the squad and there was a great deal of skill on show tonight. I was really pleased in the manner of how we played."


see also
Sporting 0-2 Rangers (0-2)
10 Apr 08 |  Europe
Uefa Cup as it happened
10 Apr 08 |  Europe


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