Ferguson undaunted by Lyons challenge

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The Independent Online

Barry Ferguson insists there is no time for self-pity after Rangers slumped to another Champions League defeat in Stuttgart on Tuesday night.

The 3-2 reverse in Germany represented a second consecutive loss for Walter Smith's men who went down 2-0 in Barcelona in their previous European outing. An impressive start to the campaign means Rangers are already guaranteed a Uefa Cup berth but they now need at least a draw against Lyons in their final group match at Ibrox on 12 December to seal a place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

A 2-2 draw against group leaders Bara last night suggests the French champions may now be a more formidable prospect than the team who slumped to a 3-0 home defeat to Rangers earlier in the tournament.

But Ferguson insists Rangers would happily have taken the do-or-die scenario heading into the final game when they were initially drawn in the tough group.

Speaking after last night's setback, the Rangers captain said: "Of course we are disappointed because Stuttgart were there for the taking. But we need to pick ourselves up quickly. We have Lyons in a couple of weeks and need to get the point that will take us through.

"It's still in our own hands. Ideally, I would have loved it to happen in Stuttgart but it hasn't happened, so we go into the last game looking to get into the last 16 and we would have taken that at the start of the campaign."

The Scotland players within the Rangers camp were dealt a blow hours before the match in Stuttgart when news filtered through of Alex McLeish's resignation as national team coach. He was unveiled as Steve Bruce's replacement at Birmingham yesterday after narrowly failing to take the Scots to Euro 2008 and now faces the daunting task of steering his new club away from the drop zone.

Ferguson worked under McLeish at Rangers and was well aware of his former manager's desire to work in the Premier League. He insists there are no hard feelings among the Scotland players McLeish has left behind. Ferguson said: "It's disappointing, he is a manager I have a lot of time for and I think he is a great manager.

"But Alex has made his decision to go to the Premiership and I'm not going to blame him for that. It's somewhere he has always wanted to manage and I'm sure he will do well. The Premiership is a big lure. It's always been his ambition and I wish him all the best."

Gary McAllister and Billy Davies have emerged as early favourites to take over from McLeish but Ferguson sees no need for the Scottish Football Association to consult the players on the recruitment process.

"It's nothing to do with us it's the SFA's decision," he said.

Lee McCulloch urged the SFA to move quickly to find a replacement after admitting McLeish's departure was a blow, however the chief executive, Gordon Smith, has stressed there is no rush.

McCulloch said: "I'm gutted to be honest. I just hope the SFA get someone in place soon. Alex McLeish is a huge loss to the country but if he is going on to other things, I wish him all the best.

"It's maybe not just the fact that it's the Premiership, it's also the chance to work with players day in day out. He also might have a bit of money to spend and show how good a manager he is at a big club."

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