Football: Negri's double vision of a bright future with Rangers

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The Independent Online
MARCO NEGRI says he is still experiencing "flashing" across his damaged eye and has been warned it could stay with him for years to come.

The Rangers striker sustained the injury last month during a squash game with his fellow Italian, Sergio Porrini, and was out of action for more than four weeks. His return to action was delayed by the need for permission to head the ball again because of his impaired vision, and Negri feared for his career.

Having been assured by experts he can continue, the 27-year-old has set his sights on a Scottish League and Cup double. The immediate aim is victory tonight at home to Motherwell to secure a Cup quarter-final place. Negri's relief at playing again is clear and he is determined to carry on regardless with his record of 34 goals since joining last summer from Perugia.

"My eye is getting better," he said. "I keep seeing a flashing across it yet I have been assured this is normal. According to the specialists this is not dangerous and other people with the injury have seen flashing for up to five years afterwards.

"It was a frustrating injury and I was disappointed and I suppose a little bit down when I had to stay at home resting in bed. There I was enjoying a game of squash with Sergio but it proved too dangerous. No more squash for me. That is the last time.

"I was concerned it might be serious and I thought about my career and about Rangers. The club is always the most important thing for me, firstly to win the league and hopefully the Cup. Who scores doesn't matter."

The prospect of Negri finding the scoresheet tonight has been boosted by the return of his main supplier, Brian Laudrup. The Dane was left out by Walter Smith last week after details were made public from Chelsea about Laudrup meeting Gianluca Vialli in midweek.

Smith's main selection problem for tonight is who to play instead of the suspended Porrini, with Craig Moore and Gordan Petric his main options.

Motherwell will again look to their veteran front pairing of Owen Coyle and Tommy Coyne to produce their best, and they are confident of delivering.

"We seem to get more joy against the Old Firm than most and hopefully we can capitalise on that," Coyle said. "We know it is a difficult tie, but it is a place everyone wants to play. If you can't enjoy Ibrox, there is not much point in playing the game."

In tonight's other replay, Dundee take on Ross County at Dens Park with the home manager Jocky Scott saying Dariusz Adamczuk will return to the starting line-up.

"He had been suspended the week before and I wanted to keep a winning team unchanged," Scott said. "But he made a big difference on Saturday, and he will return."