Football: Amoruso wins battle with Rangers' fans

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SERGIO PORRINI reckons his fellow Italian defender Lorenzo Amoruso's stunning recent form stems from his desire to prove wrong his critics among the Rangers fans. Earlier this season, whenever Amoruso opted to shoot from distance, the Ibrox faithful behind the goal would first take cover then offer the Rangers skipper a hostile verdict on his efforts.

It reached the stage in early November that Amoruso was threatening to quit the club, such was his concern, but the Rangers manager, Dick Advocaat, ignored the advice both of his team's supporters and the media and retained Amoruso as captain.

Rangers were being held 1-1 by an impressive Falkirk in the Scottish Cup at Ibrox on Sunday when Amoruso strode forward with purpose, set his sights and let fly from fully 35 yards for a stunning winning goal.

Porrini said: "There was a time when Lorenzo took a lot of criticism and I felt very sorry for him because some of it was personal and very hurtful. He wanted to do his best for Rangers after missing much of the previous season through injury, so when he was jeered at Ibrox it was a terrible time for him.

"Lorenzo really wanted to be a success and I can tell you I know how much it means to him to be Rangers captain. He took the abuse, although it hurt, because he felt the fans were entitled to their opinion.

"In the last three months or so he has produced some magnificent performances for us and shown people what he can do. He is a winner - and wants to win for the fans."

Amoruso has now vowed to stay, stressing "I don't think it is a problem now" when asked about a future which at last looks bright.

Rangers have now gone 15 matches unbeaten, with Sunday's victory an eighth successive win. They have already lifted the Scottish League Cup and are primed for a rare domestic treble with the prospect of Hampden Park launching its new era with an Old Firm Scottish Cup final.

In contrast, with Hibernian having already virtually secured the First Division title, Falkirk now have little to play for, a fact which infuriates their manager, Alex Totten, a firm advocate of a 16-team top flight.

Totten said: "For the sake of Scottish football that's the road we should go down, more teams in the Premier League to fall in line with the rest of Europe, where it's the norm."