Rangers make light of inexperience

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The Independent Online

DaMarcus Beasley watched Rangers' young side come of age against Stuttgart then dared the rest of Europe to write Walter Smith's team off.

Several players were making their Champions League debuts and each of them acquitted themselves adeptly in a 2-1 victory over the Bundesliga champions. Rangers could have folded after Mario Gomez fired Stuttgart into the lead but nerves were soothed when Charlie Adam marked his return to the first team with a superb equaliser, before experienced campaigner Jean-Claude Darcheville kept his cool to score the winner from the penalty spot.

Beasley earned his own spurs with the PSV Eindhoven team who reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2005 and he firmly believes Rangers' new-look team have shown they are now ready to face Lyons and Barcelona.

"I was very impressed," said the United States international. "The first half was a little bit tough because of the pace of the game but, as the game went on, we settled down.

"We forgot who we were playing and just concentrated on playing our own football. The first 20 minutes or so were a little shaky but the guys who hadn't played in the Champions League before settled down and played.

"It was the first game for a lot of our guys and, now they have a taste for the European nights, they will get more and more comfortable and will play better in every match."

Beasley has already praised Rangers as good enough to emulate the achievements of PSV and reiterated his belief that the Ibrox club are not in the Champions League merely to make up the numbers.

He added: "We're not just happy to be here, we are here to stake our claim. A lot of teams don't know us and that will be to our advantage. We're not saying that we are going to get out of the group after just one game – we still have another five games to go, including three away games, so it's going to be tough."

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