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Three points not essential.


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As much as I like Walter Smith, it's when he comes out with stuff like this it annoys me.

It's very negative from the outset and if that attitude filters down to the players, it's no wonder we've not won a game in Europe since Sporting Lisbon.

As I said, I like Walter Smith - but it sounds like he's getting his excuses in early.


WALTER SMITH insists Rangers don't need to beat Bursaspor tomorrow to keep their chances of reaching the last 16 of the Champions League alive.

The Light Blues take on the Turkish champions at Ibrox as they look to build on their fantastic 0-0 draw with Manchester United earlier this month.

Winning would take Gers to four points in Group C and keep them on course for a Europa League spot at least.

But Smith is adamant it's not essential to come out on top this midweek to progress further than that, even if that means wins would be needed further on in the section.

He cites what happened during the SPL title holders' European campaign in the first half of the 2007/08 season as the reason for holding such a belief.

Back then, Lyon lost their first pool game 3-0 to Barcelona and were then beaten by the same scoreline when Rangers played them in France.

Yet by the final matchday, the Ligue 1 side turned up in Glasgow knowing a win would take them to the knockout stages and they obliged with a three-goal success of their own.

Smith is clearly aiming to get the victory which would give his side its first continental success since the 2-0 triumph over Sporting in Lisbon back in April 2008.

But he is adamant only drawing - or even losing - wouldn't spell the end of the team's European adventure by any means.

The manager said: "The last time we went into the Europa League - or the UEFA Cup as it was - from the Champions League, it came after a terrific result at Lyon.

"We won 3-0 over there but later lost 3-0 at home and it was them who went through to the last 16 of the main competition rather than us.

"The Champions League can throw up results like that and all we have to do is concentrate on better results at home this season than last year.

"That's the main objective for us. Our away form wasn't too bad last year but we were disappointing at Ibrox.

"But regardless of what happens this midweek, there is still a long way to go and nothing will be decided yet."

Little is known by Light Blues fans about Bursaspor, a side which won its national championship for the first time in 2009/10.

But Rangers have scouted them extensively since the draw for the group phase was made a month ago and Smith is prepared for a stern test.

He added: "They're certainly not unknown to us. Over the last few weeks, we've gained quite a bit of information on them.

"They may be a bit like we were last season where, in their first home game, they lost heavily to Valencia.

"It wasn't one of those games where you'd have said there was a 4-0 scoreline at the end of it.

"It was a typical Champions League game where the home side tried to push forward and attack in its normal manner.

"They were caught out with that on a number of occasions and were heavily punished whereas it maybe doesn't happen quite as clinically as that in the domestic games.

"I would think there will be a little bit of adjustment on their part for the rest of the Champions League games.

"Bursaspor have got some very good players and they've invested quite heavily in their team to win their championship.

"If we'd said before the draw we'd play Galatasaray, Fenerbache or Besiktas, everyone would have said we'd have a really difficult game.

"Bursaspor are top of the Turkish league and they've shown themselves to be better than all those sides over the last year or so. That's the standard they're at."

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Mathamatically it may not be essential, but it's a game we need to win for several reasons!

That's it in a nutshell.

We have came through the hardest game in the group with a result, now we need to come through the easiest game in the group with a win - imo.

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The difference between us and Lyon is that they were a good footballing team who had the talent to win home or away regardless of the opposition.

To progress you simply have to win your home games but let's be realistic here.

Smith is not going to come out and put extra pressure on the players by saying they must win tonight and if they don't then its a disaster.

Bear in mind he also knows that at this level his team are not of the requisite quality to be able to dominate anyone at home.

So while it may appear negative it is also Smith being pragmatic as usual.

In the dressing room i suspect his team talk will be slightly different.

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That's it in a nutshell.

We have came through the hardest game in the group with a result, now we need to come through the easiest game in the group with a win - imo.

Tbh I would say Valencia away is the hardest game.

Anyways im sure its probably mind games

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He's just taking the pressure off the players with this. Walter knows its a must win if we harbour any hopes of getting 2nd spot. That would be worth aroun £5m to us with the £3m prize money and last 16 gate - which would likelybe Ally's transfer budget for next season.

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I'm sure Walter knows what he's doing.

He's taking the pressure off the players, and it wouldn't surprise me if he's already made sure a copy of his statement is already winging its way to Bursa and the Associated Press.

I trust Walter more now than I ever did - especially since it's his final season as Manager, I feel he will be trying his hardest to prove a point.

We do need 3 points from this game though.

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I can see us playing defensively for the first 70 minutes. IF it's still 0-0 and we're comfortable, then I can see us going all out for the victory. This is a difficult match for Walter, or any manager.

You want the win, but how much risk do you take? We have it in us to win this. And I'm confident we will.

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He will play 4-5-1 as usual but as long as we have an outball like weiss on the wings we can at least attack more easily! Won't happen though.

Fiorentina and sporting at home along with stuttgart, unirea and seville were all horrible to watch.

More of the same tomorro with broadfoot and Whittaker at Rb and Rm and miller up front himself.

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I'm sure he doesn't actually mean that.

We will NOT progress from this group if we don't win tomorrow night, it's as simple as that really.

Why say it, then? especially as the players could pick up on it. I know why he's said it but it's that sort of attitude these players took a couple of years to shake off to get to the level they are currently at.

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IMO if we pick up a minimum of 6 points at home we will have a good chance of going through.

It would not be a total disaster if we drew but a defeat will make things a lot harder. We must set out to win the game and try and pick up the three points.

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Watever happens 2mo night we must press them and attack them from the off-at least for the first 5-10 mins, we cant sit back from the off-it gives the opponents the momentum for the rest of the game-as was posted earlier the home games are usually like this.

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