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Walter Smith rues key 'penalty' decision

Walter Smith (left) had a disappointing final European night at Ibrox
Smith (left) had a disappointing final European night at Ibrox

Walter Smith felt the denial of a penalty was key in Rangers' Europa League exit against PSV Eindhoven.

Rangers lost 1-0 at Ibrox in a 1-0 aggregate defeat but had an effort handled on the goal-line by PSV's Atiba Hutchinson in the second half.

"I don't know how many officials we have got on the pitch but they all missed it," said Rangers boss Smith.

"It would have changed the game. It would have reduced PSV to 10 and given us a chance to apply more pressure."

Despite the frustration surrounding the handball incident, Smith conceded his side had themselves to blame for their uphill struggle after their poor start to the second leg of the last-16 tie.

Jeremain Lens netted the only goal of the tie in the 15th minute after Balazs Dzsudzsak escaped Richard Foster to send in a low cross from the left.

Gers boss frustrated by penalty calls

Rangers rarely featured as an attacking force in the first half but exerted some sustained pressure around the hour mark.

Maurice Edu scuffed a great chance and Steven Naismith headed against the crossbar soon after.

Kyle Bartley's follow-up was scrambled away and Edu was denied a goal when his close-range effort was blocked by the hand of Hutchinson, which was missed by the referee, assistant and extra official behind the line.

"You have got to look at the penalty situation," added Smith, who was overseeing his last European match for the club.

"We had a couple of chances in the run-up to a clear handball on the line.

"Just afterwards Madjid Bougherra was brought down as well, which I thought was a clear penalty."

Smith, who brought on midfielder Naismith for defencer David Weir at half-time, added: "We had to make an adjustment in the second half and we certainly applied more pressure.

"We were a bit disappointed with the way we started.

He was doing well for us up front, he took a knock on the knee. I don't know how bad it is

Walter Smith on Kyle Lafferty

"I didn't feel we played well at all in the first half. We gave away a bad goal."

Smith admitted Rangers lost their momentum after lone striker Kyle Lafferty was stretchered off with a knee injury midway through the half.

"He was doing well for us up front," Smith said.

"He took a knock on the knee. I don't know how bad it is."

Smith revealed that there was even more concern over a knee injury to Bartley ahead of Sunday's Co-operative Insurance Cup final against Celtic.

The defender went down in the final minute but went back on, seemingly against the advice of the Rangers physio.

Meanwhile, Smith replied with a simple "no" when asked if he had been made aware of any developments in the long-running takeover saga.

Prospective new owner Craig Whyte was at Ibrox but there is still no word on a purchase of Sir David Murray's shares.

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see also
Europa League as it happened
17 Mar 11 |  Football
Thursday's football photos
17 Mar 11 |  Football
Rangers 0-1 PSV (agg 0-1)
17 Mar 11 |  Rangers
PSV Eindhoven 0-0 Rangers
10 Mar 11 |  Rangers

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