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Page last updated at 15:40 GMT, Sunday, 31 August 2008 16:40 UK

Cousin impact delights boss Smith

Rangers manager Walter Smith
Smith praised Daniel Cousin's contribution to Rangers' victory

Rangers manager Walter Smith was delighted with Daniel Cousin after the striker scored and was then sent off in the 4-2 SPL victory over Celtic.

Cousin justified his shock inclusion with a terrific performance and Smith said he was happy to continue playing him as long as he remains at the club.

"There's nobody in for him, so he's staying here and we'll continue to use our strikers," Smith said.

"Daniel is excellent when he's on form like today."

Cousin had been expected to leave Ibrox this summer after Fifa blocked a proposed 3m switch to Fulham earlier in the year.

And the Rangers boss admits he has "no idea" if Cousin will leave before the transfer window closes on Monday night.

"He has been inconsistent since he came here," admitted Smith. "But, as he showed today, he has that capability."

But Smith felt the sending off was harsh after Cousin was twice booked for leading with his arm in aerial challenges.

"It used to be a feature of play in the game, a battle between the centre-forward and centre-half," he said.

"Yes, they were fouls, but there was no malice between Daniel and Gary Caldwell.

"It was two players committed to winning the ball. It's a shame it ends up with a decision like that."

Smith was pleased with the football his side played, including the contribution of Pedro Mendes, who scored a brilliant 25-yard strike on his Old Firm debut.

"Mendes has brought a bit of football to us," Smith said.

"He is certainly making a difference in the way we play football overall."

Mendes said he was particularly pleased to silence the vast home support at Celtic Park following his man-of-the-match performance.

"To come here today and play like we played and the fantastic win we had - I think it was a joy for everyone, especially for our supporters who deserved that," he said."

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"It was a fantastic atmosphere. In a derby, when you're winning the best bit is when the stadium goes quiet."

And the 29-year-old midfielder, who received a recall to Portugal's national squad earlier in the week, said that Rangers were happy with their start to the new season.

"It's a long season, we've had a tough start but we're pleased what we've achieved until now," he continued.

"We've got something to build on and keep it going."


see also
No panic buys promises Strachan
31 Aug 08 |  Celtic
Celtic 2-4 Rangers
31 Aug 08 |  Scottish Premier
Celtic-Rangers as it happened
31 Aug 08 |  Scottish Premier
Old Firm photo gallery
31 Aug 08 |  Scottish Premier


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