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Page last updated at 14:21 GMT, Wednesday, 30 July 2008 15:21 UK

Smith says Rangers can progress

Walter Smith
Smith will be hoping for a repeat of last season's European away form

Rangers manager Walter Smith believes his side can progress at the expense of Kaunas in the Champions League qualifier despite the 0-0 home draw.

"If we can get ourselves in front we can be confident, but it will be an awkward one," said Smith after Wednesday's stalemate at Ibrox.

Last season Rangers regularly advanced after goalless first legs at home.

Smith added: "I feel we're capable of winning the game but I don't like to keep looking back at last season."

Panathinaikos, Sporting Lisbon and Fiorentina all earned goalless draws in Glasgow, only to succumb to Rangers on their home turf as the Ibrox side progressed to the Uefa Cup final.

"We have that confidence, there is no doubt. But I need to point out that because we had that success last season, it doesn't mean it will happen this season," said the Rangers manager.

"We need to be wary of that aspect. We just need to put in a performance that matches that confidence.

"Last season we worked hard and there was a brightness about us but we should be better placed next week."

Rangers looked ring-rusty, at times ponderous in possession and often lacking the quickness of thought to create an opening.

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Kaunas, however, were bright and on their toes and looked every bit the side that sits top of the Lithuanian league after 15 matches.

Smith admitted: "There is no excuse really for us. With the importance of the fixture, I thought we would have started brighter.

"I felt we started the game slowly and I thought there would be a bit more pace and passing of the ball.

"But credit to Kaunas, they defended well throughout the evening. Just before half-time was our best spell in the game and we had a couple of clear-cut opportunities that we might have done better with."

Rangers midfielder Kevin Thomson said he was confident of victory in the return leg in Lithuania next Tuesday.

"From what we saw in this game, I am sure we can improve and go to Lithuania and score an away goal," he said.

Kevin Thomson shakes hands with a Kaunas player at full-time
Thomson says Rangers can win in Lithuania next Tuesday

"The onus is going to be on them. It's always difficult being the team playing at home, when you have to dictate and try to score.

"Over there, we can try to employ the same tactics as last year, sit a wee bit tighter and try to use our pace up front to score on the counter-attack."

Kaunas manager Jose Couceiro believes his side are still the underdogs.

"I thought Rangers were the favourites and, after this first match, I still think they are," he said.

"I thought Rangers would cause us more problems but the second leg could be decided in the last 20 minutes and a team who have experience are, of course, at an advantage.

"This was a very good result but it's not finished."




see also
Rangers 0-0 FBK Kaunas
30 Jul 08 |  Europe
Rangers v Kaunas as it happened
30 Jul 08 |  Europe
Rangers v Kaunas photo gallery
30 Jul 08 |  Europe


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