Ally McCoist remains confident despite Rangers loss

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The Independent Football

Ally McCoist remains confident that Rangers can get past Malmo in their Champions League third qualifying round even though that will require making club history.

The Scottish champions have never won a European tie after losing the first game at home and they will have to rectify that following their 1-0 defeat to the Swedes.

Daniel Larsson's first-half strike gave the impressive visitors a deserved win and they must be favourites to complete the job at home next Wednesday.

However the Rangers boss, who revealed that skipper David Weir had come off in the first half with a hamstring injury, said: "One of the worrying things from our point of view is that we didn't start the game well.

"I sat here on Saturday and said the same thing after the Hearts game.

"The standard of goals we are losing is certainly worrying.

"But I do believe that we created enough in the second half to indicate that the tie is far from over.

"I do believe that we can go over there and score so there is plenty to play for.

"Crazy as it may seem, the way the game was going, the most important thing was that we didn't lose a second goal. Another goal against would have been a real, real problem.

"I knew we were pushing forward and had chances to score, and should have scored, but the most important thing was we didn't lose another goal and we certainly had the keeper to thank for that in the second half."

Malmo, well into their league season, were sharp from the start and in the 17th minute, after missing an earlier chance, Larsson powered a drive from the edge of the box high past helpless Light Blues keeper Allan McGregor.

McGregor made several good saves in the second half as the visitors continued to threaten, although Steven Naismith missed a couple of chances which might have given the Scottish champions a better result to take into the second leg.

McCoist continued: "They looked that little bit sharper than us, especially in the first half and they did look fitter in terms of the way that they went about it.

"Is it down to the fact that they are so far into their season? I don't know.

"But that doesn't help us, the fact is we have to be sharper in the second leg and I am determined we will be.

"There is a lack of sharpness and hopefully it is because it is early on in the season but you have to get over that and that's what they will have to do.

"We know what we have to do. We have to score or we are out the competition.

"But I will say again, I really believe we will score over there and we are very confident because we made enough chances, especially in the second half and on another night we might have had two or three.

"It was poor finishing and the luck was against us.

"We all expected a little bit more. There is no getting away from it.

"You set up your team to do well but the main problem was that we gave them space and time and you can't do that with good players because they will punish you.

"But we weren't surprised. We didn't underestimate them."

Asked if he believed his side were now favourites, Malmo coach Rikard Norling said: "No. We have to remind ourselves who we are playing, in the sense that our performance was very good and they will not be pleased by theirs.

"We could feel the qualities they have.

"It is only half-time."