McCoist draws comfort from sound defence in Athens
Wednesday 20 February 2008
Ally McCoist is confident Rangers can score an away goal against Panathinaikos in Athens tomorrow night and keep their Uefa Cup ambitions alive.
The SPL leaders were held 0-0 in the first leg at Ibrox last Wednesday, but McCoist, Rangers' assistant manager who flew with Walter Smith and the squad to Athens yesterday, believes they have shown on their European travels that they can score away from home. Rangers scored three in Lyons and two in Stuttgart and have recently kept eight successive clean sheets. McCoist believes such form is the foundation for progress – as long as they can score goals.
McCoist said: "A lot of people were a little bit disappointed with the result at home but I think we can take a lot from it. We had chances to win the game but the most important thing if we didn't score was not to lose and we didn't concede. The lads have been looking quite solid, so if we can continue that defensive form then that'll be smashing.
"I think it allows us to be more offensive because we've got a clean sheet. I think their coach got it spot on when he said the game is perfectly poised, because with them not scoring an away goal it doesn't make it that great a result for them either.
"We've already shown we can score goals on our travels this season in Europe, so we're looking forward to it and I think we're more than capable of scoring over here.
"The Lyons result [a 3-0 win] was arguably one of the club's best performances in Europe – to score three goals was marvellous. But to score two against the German champions [in a 3-2 defeat] was also great. That shows we can travel anywhere in Europe."
Daniel Cousin is in tonight's squad. The Gabon international, who is awaiting Fifa's verdict over whether his £3m move to Fulham can go ahead, came on as a second-half substitute against Panathinaikos last week; McCoist said he had been working on his fitness and could be used again against the Greeks.
He said: "It's a bonus we've got Daniel available, the more players we have means we've got a better chance. Daniel's fitness wasn't a concern, but we're aware we have to keep it up and he's being doing extra training and his stuff with the lads. So I wouldn't imagine it'll be a problem."
Elsewhere, the Bolton manager Gary Megson was angered by a security breach ahead of his side's Uefa Cup game in the Spanish capital tomorrow.
Bolton's entire trip itinerary, including their flight number and arrival time, plus the name of their hotel and training schedule, was posted on Atletico's official website.
The British Embassy in Madrid are looking into the incident with the visitors, who will defend a 1-0 lead, fearing their programme could be disrupted.
"This is very strange behaviour for a club of Atletico's size and status," Megson said. "It obviously raises serious security concerns."
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