Football: Amoruso confident Scots will progress

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LORENZO AMORUSO is optimistic that Rangers can book a place in the quarter-finals of the Uefa Cup for next spring.

The Scottish Premier League leaders were held to a 1-1 home draw by Parma on Tuesday night but are still quietly confident of progressing when the second leg is played in a fortnight.

Close to 50,000 fans raised the roof during a thrilling encounter and Alberto Malesani, the Parma coach, admitted he had never experienced an atmosphere like it. "Football should always be like this," he said. "It was a great experience to play in a stadium like Ibrox."

Rangers trailed to a goal from the Argentinian striker Abel Balbo, only for Rod Wallace to then grab his 14th of the season. It stretched their unbeaten run in Europe to nine matches and the home captain, Amoruso, said: "The game is still there for us. We all believe that. Parma are a top side with great technical ability but we showed in the second half we can make chances.

"They are a good team that has won the Uefa Cup, Cup-Winners' Cup and Italian Cup in the past four years. But we are also a good team. How many people expected us to go to Leverkusen and win 2-1?

"It will be very, very hard in Parma but in football anything is possible. We will go there to play with passion and try our best for Rangers."

Malesani expects an equally tough match in the Tardini Stadium on 8 December. "The performance against Rangers raises our morale. It was a great game and a good result for us," he said. "We were comfortable for 70 minutes then Rangers came out to play while we were catching our breath. My only regret is that we didn't sew the game up after Balbo's goal. We allowed our opponents to come at us.

"But we have good team spirit here and I am happy about that and the fact that Balbo is now coming into his best form."

Rangers have another important date on Sunday when they face St Johnstone in the League Cup final at Celtic Park.