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Page last updated at 22:33 GMT, Thursday, 1 May 2008 23:33 UK

Smith joy over shoot-out victory

Rangers manager Walter Smith and Nacho Novo
Rangers manager Walter Smith celebrates with Nacho Novo

Rangers manager Walter Smith expressed delight after his side progressed to the Uefa Cup final with a dramatic penalty shoot-out win over Fiorentina.

"We were put under quite a bit of pressure as the game wore on, but there were few clear-cut opportunities during the game," he told BBC Sport.

"I'm delighted for everyone connected with the club that we've managed to get to the final.

"It's been a fantastic achievement, right from the start of the season."

Smith said his side's progress was all the more remarkable considering it was his first season in charge in his second spell at Ibrox.

"To go and reach this final is terrific. I'm delighted for everyone at the club, from the chairman down to chief executive Martin Bain and everyone else," he added.

Smith said it was too early to think about facing Zenit St Petersburg, adding: "It will be nice to cross swords with Dick Advocaat again.

"We saw the quality of his team beating Bayern Munich 4-0, who I thought would've been favourites for the tournament."

Smith revealed that he expected to consolidate this season and that progressing to the final was beyond the club's dreams.

Goalkeeper Neil Alexander, who saved from Fabio Liverani in the penalty shoot-out, said: "I'm lost for words, what an achievement.

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"We were under the cosh and defended magnificently, the whole team defended well.

"I said to Barry Ferguson 'if I could make one save' and I managed it. Then they put one over the bar."

Nacho Novo, who converted the spot-kick which secured Rangers' place in the final, added: "I still can't believe it. "It was a good performance by the team and it's so exciting for the fans."




see also
Fiorentina 0-0 Rangers (0-0)
01 May 08 |  Europe
Rangers Player Rater
17 Jan 07 |  Live Text
Uefa Cup photos
01 May 08 |  Europe


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