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Page last updated at 22:03 GMT, Wednesday, 16 September 2009 23:03 UK

Rangers recovery delights Smith

Madjid Bougherra was on target for Rangers
Bougherra scored a fabulous equaliser for Rangers

Manager Walter Smith thought Rangers were worth a win after their 1-1 Champions League draw in Stuttgart.

"I felt we started rather slowly and Stuttgart were the better side in the early part of the game," said Smith.

"I felt closer to half-time we started to come into the game and then in the second half I felt we were excellent.

"In the end I think maybe I would say we were a little bit unfortunate not to just shade the game after what was an excellent second-half performance."

Pavel Pogrebniak shot the Germans ahead in a first half completely dominated by the hosts.

However, Rangers were much improved after the break and Madjid Bougherra's powerful strike capped a great comeback from Smith's side.

Sasa Papac wasted a good headed chance, while Steven Naismith's clumsy touch saw him crowded out by Stuttgart goalkeeper Jens Lehmann and Steven Davis shaved the outside of the post with a late effort.

"I was disappointed with the goal we lost, which was a bad one from our point of view," added Smith. "It was an unfortunate slip from Sasa Papac but one we might have cleared easily beforehand.

"But in the second half we had three or four good chances to score.

"When you come away from home in your first game it's important to try and take something and I felt we deserved that at least."

Sevilla top Group G after a 2-0 home win against Romanian side Unirea Urziceni and the Spaniards visit Ibrox in a fortnight.

"When we look at the group overall, Sevilla will be favourites, with their European pedigree in recent seasons, so it will be a good game in a couple of weeks' time," continued Smith.

"For us in the Champions League the games will always be very tight. Each of the teams we're up against are capable of winning at home and away.

"We're just pleased to have taken a point from our first game and that was a good one for us."

French winger Jerome Rothen stood out for Rangers with an assured display and his misplaced cross also hit the woodwork in the second half.

"I thought he was the one player who started the game well," said Smith in praise of the new signing.


Bougherra also got a special mention for his fabulous goal, while there was credit for Lee McCulloch, forced into a defensive role following injury to skipper David Weir.

"We had to defend well, that was more important than anything else," continued Smith.

"Lee McCulloch, who has only had a handful of games in that position, played very well and obviously Madjid not only defended well but got the goal, which was a big plus for us.

"Central defenders don't get into that position from open play very often but he likes to get himself forward and it was an excellent finish - one that any forward would have been proud of."

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see also
We can win away at Ibrox - Babbel
16 Sep 09 |  Europe
Stuttgart 1-1 Rangers
16 Sep 09 |  Europe
Champions League photo gallery
16 Sep 09 |  Europe

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