We did not take Unirea lightly, insists Smith

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The Independent Football

Rangers manager Walter Smith insists their Champions League humbling at the hands of Unirea Urziceni was down to his players simply not being good enough on the night – and not because they underestimated their opponents.

The teams meet again tonight with the Scottish champions hoping the match in Urziceni will allow them to atone for the 4-1 defeat they suffered at Ibrox a fortnight ago and steer their qualifying campaign back on track.

According to one Romanian journalist at yesterday's pre-match press conference, the Unirea manager, Dan Petrescu, told the local press he believed their win was the result of Rangers' belief that they were superior to the Champions League debutants. However, Smith was quick to refute the claim, insisting: "I don't think that's right at all.

"I don't think we are in a position to disregard anybody and we certainly didn't think that before the game. We didn't play well on the evening, which is the main aspect. We didn't play the way we have done in other European games but it was not because of any disrespect for the opposition.

"We have to make sure that we try to turn that around and play in the manner we know we can. If we can do that, we have a chance."

Petrescu revealed that he made a bet with his players that they would not pick up another point in the Champions League after their stunning victory in Glasgow but Smith refused to be drawn into any mind games.

"I hope that's the case," he smiled. "We want to try and win the game tomorrow night and that's all that matters to us." Defeat would end Rangers' hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages and, for that reason, Smith refused to look beyond tonight's match. He said: "We were asked at the end of the last game how we felt about qualifying and, after the way we played in that game, we can't look any further than this game."