Walter Smith was delighted his side avoided a European hangover as he watched them cruise to a 4-0 win over Dundee United at Ibrox that put Rangers three points clear of the Scottish Premier League.
The home side showed no ill effects from their midweek Champions League exploits against Manchester United where they claimed a point following a dogged defensive performance at Old Trafford.
With such a small squad following two years of being unable to sign new players Smith could only make two changes from the match in Manchester and the manager was worried his tired players might stumble against last season’s Scottish Cup winners.
But Rangers put in their best performance of the season on Saturday and Smith was clearly pleased.
“I think overall that it was probably the best performance since we started the season,” the Rangers manager said.
“I felt we started the game very well but half-way through the first-half Dundee United started to come into the game and that was our poorest period of the match.
“The second-half we started well again and continued it and that’s the best spell we’ve had. We are delighted that is the case especially coming off the back of a tough Champions League game.
“In the Champions League you have to expend a lot of energy and there is mental tiredness as well in terms of having to keep a level of concentration for long periods.
“You are always concerned about it a little. Last season we dropped a number of points after coming back from Champions League games.
“You are aware of that aspect so that means we are delighted with the way things turned out against United.”
Rangers took just nine minutes to take the lead when United defender Sean Dillion bundled Kenny Miller’s cross beyond his own keeper.
Scotland striker Miller kept up his record of scoring in every league game this season when he fired home in the 69th minute before substitute Steven Naismith headed home the third.
New signing Nikica Jelavic then showed great unselfishness to lay the ball across goal for Miller to tap in his second in the 82nd minute.
It takes the Scotland internationalist’s tally to eight in five games this season and earned him praise from teammate Vladamir Weiss.
“Kenny is a great finisher and showed again that he knows where to be in the box. He’s always looking to score and that’s another two goals for him,” the on-loan Manchester City star said.
Weiss put in a man-of-the-match performance against Dundee United but the Slovakian said he was just happy to be playing after keeping the bench warm in midweek at Old Trafford.
“I don’t really like to sit on the bench but if the manager decides that then I am only 20 so I’ve got to respect that,” the winger said.
“It’s always a bit frustrating but when I get a chance I try to impress. We don’t have that many players in the squad so the gaffer tried to change it a little bit.
“He’s always going to swap it round and every time I play I’m going to do my best.
“We are looking to win every game and we have 100 per cent at the moment so we are happy that we won again.”
The on-loan star terrorised the United defence and Scott Robertson and Jon Daly both ended up in referee Dougie McDonald’s book for late challenges on the Slovakian.
“It’s a tough league. Whether it is in Scotland or England players like me are always going to get kicked and you are going to get this type of game everywhere,” Weiss added.
“But I’ve got no problems with the tackles. At least not until one breaks my leg.”
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