Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Rangers must focus on Dons and forget Celts, says Smith (SN)

SoccerNews in Scottish Premier League 20 May 2008

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Rangers manager Walter Smith claims he will not be listening out for Celtic's result on Thursday – despite the fact his side's title aspirations depend on their rivals tripping up at Tannadice.

The Ibrox side joined Celtic on 86 points with their 3-0 victory away to St Mirren on Monday night.

However, that result left Rangers four goals worse off than their Glasgow neighbours, ahead of the final SPL games away to Aberdeen and Dundee United respectively.

A Celtic win would therefore almost certainly secure their third SPL title in a row – unless there is a freak result at Pittodrie in Rangers' favour.

But Smith says he will be focusing purely on beating Aberdeen rather than listening out for news from Tannadice.

The Rangers boss said: “It's unlikely we're going to be able to win the league now on goal difference – although you can never tell in football.

“Aberdeen is a tough place to go but so is Tannadice so both teams face a tough match.

“But all we can do is concentrate on our own game and do everything we can to beat Aberdeen and then we'll see where we go from there.”

He continued: “I'm happy that we got the win against St Mirren which takes the season to the final day.

“Now we go to Pittodrie knowing a win might be good enough to win the championship. It's just a case of getting on with it.

“Motherwell made it hard for us on Saturday, St Mirren worked hard on Monday and it will be the same at Aberdeen.

“Football players have pride in their performances and we know we face a difficult task to win at Pittodrie.”

After being held to a 1-1 draw at Motherwell on Saturday, Rangers knew they needed a victory to have a realistic chance of winning the title on Thursday.

However, they were also looking to cut into Celtic's pre-match advantage of seven goals.

A goal feast looked to be on the cards when the Ibrox side took the lead in only the fourth minute.

Steven Davis chipped the ball to the back post, former St Mirren defender Kirk Broadfoot played it back across the face of goal and Kris Boyd bundled home from only a few yards out.

Rangers doubled their lead in the 24th minute, following a mix-up in the St Mirren defence.

Stephen O'Donnell had time to clear at the edge of the box but instead took his eye off the ball allowing Davis to nick in and play it on to Jean-Claude Darcheville.

The French forward took a touch before firing a low right-foot effort beyond St Mirren goalkeeper Mark Howard into the corner of the net from 20-yards.

In the 43rd minute Darcheville was denied by the woodwork.

Davis' cross was nodded back by Boyd and the Frenchman's overhead kick bounced off the bottom of the post.

Rangers increased their lead in the 69th minute.

Barry Ferguson was the provider this time, sliding the ball into the path of Darcheville, putting him through on goal, and he fired low past Howard.

However, despite continuing to press for more goals Rangers were unable to add to their tally before the end.

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