Rangers hit all-time low, admits Novo
Forward says capitulation to Romanian minnows was 'worst ever result' in Europe
Thursday 22 October 2009
Nacho Novo admits the low point of his Rangers career arrived with the humiliating 4-1 defeat by Romanian unknowns Unirea Urziceni which has left his side's Champions League hopes hanging by a thread.
Ibrox fans have witnessed European drubbings at home over the years, from sides like Ajax and Juventus, as well as last month's humbling at the hands of Seville. However, never have a Light Blues team capitulated so spectacularly to such an ordinary outfit as Unirea, whose players left Glasgow on Tuesday night as surprised as anyone after their first win in Europe.
Novo, who joined Rangers from Dundee in 2004, was brought on for the hopelessly-ineffective Jerome Rothen immediately after the fourth goal was slammed in by Pablo Brandan, just as the Ibrox stands began to empty.
The Spanish forward empathised with the fans who stayed to boo in frustration at full-time as the shell-shocked Rangers players sloped off the pitch in embarrassment. "It was as disappointing a night as I've had as a Rangers player, definitely," Novo said. "It is one of the worst results in Europe. Obviously, it is disappointing for the fans and they have always been 100 per cent for us.
"We haven't been performing for them so we need to see what is the problem then battle in the next game. We started well, scored the early goal but it was disappointing after that and we have to look at ourselves. We need to keep going and everybody has to work harder."
The problems appeared easier to see for the Rangers support, who watched their side continue their poor form of this season.
Despite being top of the SPL, fans have been critical of the standard of football they have had to endure and those frustrations boiled over at full-time.
However, in addition to the ineptness on display, there was an element of farce when Steven Davis missed a penalty and Kyle Lafferty and Lee McCulloch put through their own net – albeit Lafferty was unlucky when a Bruno Fernandes flick came off his leg on its way past Allan McGregor.
Seville look be to skating their way through Group G after taking maximum points from three games. Rangers, with one point garnered in Germany against Stuttgart on matchday one, face the return game against Unirea early next month knowing victory is essential if they are to have any chance of qualifying through to the knockout stages.
Rangers have condemned the "moronic behaviour" of supporters alleged to have racially abused Maurice Edu after the thrashing by Unirea. United States midfielder Edu, 23, played no part in the defeat but watched the match at Ibrox and says he was targeted by his own club's supporters as he left the stadium.
A statement released by the Ibrox club read: "Rangers Football Club condemns out of hand this moronic behaviour. The action of this individual is disgusting and completely unacceptable. It is extremely disappointing that people such as this attach themselves to the wider Rangers support and tarnish the image of the club and its fans. The club will now undertake a full investigation to identify the individual in question and take appropriate action.
"We would urge anyone who has information on the identity of the individual responsible to contact the club immediately. Everyone associated with Rangers will once again demonstrate their on-going commitment to Show Racism the Red Card as we support the Weekend of Action at the Hibernian game at Ibrox Stadium on Saturday."
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