Steven Naismith grabbed the winner as Rangers' long wait for a victory on the European stage came to an end with a win over Bursaspor here last night. Walter Smith's men had failed to register a win in European action since they beat Fiorentina en route to the 2008 Uefa Cup final, with last year's efforts in the Champions League a particular sore point.
"There were a few disappointments last season in home games so it's nice to get a win," Smith said. "It was a terrific goal, a good header by Kirk Broadfoot and a good finish by Steven. We had started well and had one or two half-chances – I think we deserved to be in front at that time so we were delighted to get in front. In other games we have started well but not got in front, so it gave us something to hold on to."
With four points from their first two games in Group C Rangers are now well placed for their double header against Valencia. "When Valencia come here [on 20 October] it will be a big night for everyone," Smith added. "From our point of view it gives us another opportunity – but we appreciate they are an excellent side."
Rangers tried to apply some early pressure to the Turkish champions, Edu coming close with a shot which deflected just wide. The breakthrough came after 18 minutes when Steven Whittaker's cross was met by Broadfoot and his header was collected by Naismith, who sidefooted home from six yards.
Naismith could have added to his tally when he ran on to a lovely pass from Steven Davis only to see his volley swerve past the upright. After the restart Kenny Miller had a great chance to give Rangers some breathing space but goalkeeper Dimitar Ivankov managed to block and Naismith blasted the rebound well over.
Rangers 4-4-2: McGregor, Broadfoot, Weir, Bougherra, Papac, Whittaker, Davis, McCulloch, Edu, Naismith, Miller (Lafferty 87). Substitutes not used Alexander (gk), Foster, Weiss, Little, Wylde, Hutton.
Bursaspor 4-4-2: Ivankov, A Tandogan, O Erdogan, Stepanov, Wederson, Sen, Svensson, Ergic (Insua 39), Ipek, Batalla (Nunez 72), Yildirim (Bahadir 72). Substitutes not used Ozkan (gk), Cimsir, Keceli, Ibrahim Ozturk.
Referee S Gumienny (Belgium).
Results so far: Bursaspor 0 Valencia 4, Manchester United 0 Rangers 0, Valencia 0 Manchester United 1, Rangers 1 Bursaspor 0.
Rangers' remaining fixtures 20 Oct Valencia (h); 2 Nov Valencia (a); 24 Nov Manchester United (h); 7 Dec Bursaspor (h).