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Rangers desperate to end Euro drought

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 29 Sep 2010

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Allan McGregor says Rangers are determined to improve on last season’s woeful Champions League home form as his side prepare to face Turkish champions Bursaspor at Ibrox on Wednesday.

The Old Firm side had a torrid time in Glasgow in the last campaign as they lost all three home games, including 4-1 defeats to Romanian rookies Unirea Urziceni and Spanish side Sevilla.

Rangers have not won a European match since their run to the final of the UEFA Cup in 2008 and it has been 30 months since the Ibrox fans witnessed a victory.

However, keeper McGregor says the players are desperate to end this terrible run as they aim to build on the point picked up at Old Trafford from a resolute defensive performance against Manchester United on match day one.

“If we can get four points from our opening two games that would be a great start,” said the Scottish international.

“We now have two games at Ibrox. Our home form in Europe is usually good but last year it was dreadful to be honest.

“We need to get that right, especially in front of our fans who are always brilliant on European nights. I’m sure that will help us as well.”

While Rangers were collecting a valuable away point from a goalless draw against Manchester United their Turkish opponents had a Champions League debut to forget with a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Valencia.

But McGregor said his side had learnt from past experience not to underestimate any of their opponents.

“Obviously it will be difficult as they are the Turkish champions and have spent a lot of money as well,” McGregor said.

“We all know how hard it is to qualify for the Champions League these days and every team has a lot of quality. We will give Bursaspor respect and do our homework in the build up to the game. We will have meetings to look over their team as we always do before every fixture.

“Our aim will be to win but even if that happens we will still have a lot of work to do as we have found out in the past.

“In 2007/08 we had seven points out of nine from our first three games and failed to qualify but we have to try and build on our result against Manchester United.”

Bursaspor have never scored away from home in European competition – excluding qualifiers – but McGregor should be wary of opposite number Dimitar Ivankov if the Turkish side win a penalty.

The Bulgarian has a fondness for taking penalties, as well as saving them, and is the highest-scoring European goalkeeper in history with 43 successful kicks to his name.

Bursaspor won their first ever Turkish title last season and like Rangers have had a 100 percent winning start in their domestic league.

Rangers will give influential midfielder Steven Davis every chance of proving his fitness before the match after he came off injured against Aberdeen on Sunday suffering from a hamstring problem.

The match also comes too early for John Fleck and former Stoke striker James Beattie but Steven Whittaker should be available after a head knock at the weekend.

The first name down on Walter Smith’s teamsheet will be that of striker Kenny Miller.

The Scotland star has netted 10 oals in six league games this season, including two on Sunday as Rangers came from two goals down to defeat Aberdeen 3-2.

Rangers will be hoping this rich vein of form continues as they try to end their run of three European matches without a goal.

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