McCulloch confident in form and fitness after Liverpool friendly victory

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The Independent Football

Rangers midfielder Lee McCulloch hopes he is finally on course to put his injury worries behind him and force his way back into Ally McCoist's plans after scoring the only goal in a friendly against Liverpool.

McCulloch has been troubled by a knee injury this season that has meant he has struggled to hold down a starting place in the Rangers first team. But he came off the bench in the 1-1 draw against St Mirren in the Scottish Premier League at the weekend, before starting against Liverpool at Ibrox on Tuesday night.

The former Motherwell and Wigan Athletic player said: "I feel as though I'm getting back to full fitness. It's been a while. Every time I've tried to come back this season I've broken down. I'm feeling quite fit just now so hopefully I'll try to get some game-time and hopefully get my place back soon."

Before being held to a draw by Saints at the weekend, Rangers had won nine consecutive SPL games and McCulloch is well aware of the size of task he faces in forcing his way back into the team. He added: "Obviously it's hard but it's good to see the boys doing well.

"I want to be in the team and I know I need to get a wee bit fitter to do that. I need games to do that and that's why games like this can only be a good thing."

The absence of European football this season enabled Rangers and Liverpool to use the free midweek to face each other in the friendly in Glasgow, with both clubs using the match to hand game-time to those who have not featured regularly this season.

Rangers captain David Weir made only his second appearance of the season after recovering from injury and Matt McKay and Alejandro Bedoya also started. McCulloch said: "It was a good result and a good performance from everybody."

Rangers crashed out of both the Champions League and the Europa League at the qualifying stages earlier in the campaign and McCulloch admits the visit of Liverpool has whetted their appetite for a return to the European stage next year.

He said: "When you've got quality like that coming to Ibrox, you can only learn from it, especially all the young boys who were playing at the end. It's a great experience for them as well."

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