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Page last updated at 22:03 GMT, Thursday, 22 May 2008 23:03 UK

European tilt cost us, says Smith

Rangers manager Walter Smith
Smith's Rangers have stumbled in the SPL run-in

Rangers manager Walter Smith admitted that he was frustrated with the end to the Ibrox side's SPL campaign, following the 2-0 defeat at Aberdeen.

"I am disappointed with the way the season has finished in difficult circumstances," he told BBC Sport.

"Coming back from big European games has been a big problem for us recently.

"There's no doubt Aberdeen motivate themselves to a greater degree playing us than in other games, but it's always difficult to come and play here."

Lee Miller and Darren Mackie netted for Jimmy Calderwood's side, with Aberdeen clinching fourth place in the table.

With Rangers facing Queen of the South on Saturday in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden, Smith must do without the services of forward Nacho Novo, after the Spaniard was ordered off for a late tackle on Stuart Duff.

"We could have done without that," admitted the Ibrox boss.

"We need all the strikers available to us, but he got too excited due to circumstances, but these things happen."

Christian Dailly, meanwhile, conceded that the fixture congestion Rangers faced played a key role in the title run-in.

"It's devastating for us really - we've worked so hard," he said.

"There have been many highs for us this season, but now there have been a couple of real lows, which was always a danger the way the fixtures were structured.

"It has been a massive schedule. We've never shirked from it but you have to try and win the games.

"That's the way it goes sometimes so you have to accept it, although it doesn't make you feel any better," added the Scotland defender.

"We don't have time to feel sorry for ourselves - it's the cup final and we'll have to be really focused for Saturday."

see also
Aberdeen 2-0 Rangers
22 May 08 |  Scottish Premier
SPL photo gallery
22 May 08 |  Scottish Premier
Celtic clinch SPL title on final day
22 May 08 |  Scottish Premier
Dundee United 0-1 Celtic
22 May 08 |  Scottish Premier
Celtic success delights Strachan
22 May 08 |  Scottish Premier

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