Football: Gascoigne to face `contenders'

Scottish football
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The Independent Online
Walter Smith's appraisal of Dundee United as contenders for the Scottish Premier Division title is no empty flattery. Rangers and Tommy McLean's side meet at Ibrox today, a match Smith is taking seriously.

"Dundee United were the team that put the best unbeaten run together last season and this is a very important match for us," the Rangers manager said.

"Of the teams outside of the Old Firm I see United as the ones who can mount a title challenge. They may be a wee bit disappointed by starting their league programme with two draws but they are always dangerous opponents."

Paul Gascoigne returns for Rangers, his first domestic game after a three- match ban. Smith added: "We have started to show our all-round match fitness. We need games to get everybody up and playing.

"Gazza is needing a game more than anyone as his season has been disrupted because of suspension but he has been training well enough."

Tommy Bowman, the Dundee United defender, said: "The expectations are higher after we finished third last season and it is up to us to build on that. I don't think we have hit top gear yet; we have only really played in fits and starts. It's good that we're playing Rangers ahead of the Uefa Cup return against Trabzonspor as it will concentrate our minds."

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