Rangers reliant on Ferguson the record-breaker

The Rangers manager Walter Smith admits the experience of Barry Ferguson will be crucial against Werder Bremen tonight as the Ibrox captain prepares to write his name into the history books.

The visit of the Bundesliga side in the first leg of the last 16 of the Uefa Cup will mark Ferguson's 77th appearance in European competition – more than any other Scottish footballer.

That will take him past Dundee United legend Dave Narey's record, which Ferguson equalled against Panathinaikos last month. The 30-year-old midfielder will be called upon to lead by example once again tonight and Smith insisted his captain deserves a large chunk of the credit for keeping Rangers battling on four fronts this campaign.

"He has been terrific for us over the whole season, not just the European games," Smith said. "He has reached a remarkable level of consistency considering he has hardly missed a game for us this season. It's a big ask for him to keep it going but that's what we are having to do at the present moment.

"We have a lot of games coming up and, as the games come along, they gain in importance all the time.

"I'm looking forward to having him in his best form as he has been for the last few games where he has played exceptionally well. He has helped everybody and he is not fazed by the fact that he is going into a big European game. He has seen it and done it.

"It's a nice reward for him to know he has played more games than any other Rangers player in Europe."

Smith believes Rangers' extended run in Europe is also of benefit to the younger, less experienced players within his ranks. He added: "It's a great experience for them, there is no doubt about it. It's different from the league games and they know that. You have to have a good mentality.

"In the very early stages, Kirk Broadfoot played away from home against Zeta. He handled that extremely well and has never been fazed about being asked to come into the team and play. So he is one, although inexperienced in European games, who has shown it hasn't affected him at all."

Having recovered from the disappointment of their Champions League exit, Smith confirmed Rangers are fully focused on progressing as far as possible in the Uefa Cup.

He said: "The first tie is maybe a slightly awkward one in terms of motivation because you are dropping down from the Champions League to the Uefa Cup.

"But, once you are over that first tie and you realise the standard of teams that are in the Uefa Cup, you realise the importance of it. We take that on board and hopefully we can raise our game, as we had to do against Stuttgart, to get the result we are looking for."

Rangers faced the Bundesliga champions in the Champions League earlier this season – winning at home and losing in Germany – and Smith predicted Werder Bremen will be more difficult to overcome.

He said: "We know we face a slightly tougher task, if anything, against Bremen than Stuttgart. But it does give us a good indication of the level we have to play at if we hope to get through."

Rangers will be without Jean-Claude Darcheville tonight. The striker completes a three-match European suspension, and his absence could pave the way for the introduction of Daniel Cousin, who remains at Ibrox for the remainder of the season after Fifa blocked a proposed move to Fulham.

Smith has no fresh injuries to contend with, and Werder Bremen's fitness problems were clearing up yesterday as midfield threat Diego promised to attack at Ibrox.

Strikers Ivan Klasnic and Hugo Almeida both arrived in Glasgow as members of a 21-man squad. Klasnic was struggling with a thigh strain and Almeida was battling flu earlier in the week. However, both players are in contention to face Rangers at Ibrox.

Brazilian goalscoring midfielder Diego said: "We want to dominate the game and score a goal. It's important we play our own game and don't allow ourselves to become entangled in Rangers' style of play. To play the first leg away from home is good for us. We won't start off with a defensive attitude in Scotland."

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam