Rangers focus on Europe

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The Independent Online

Europe is starting to dominate the thoughts of Scotland's top five clubs and nowhere more so than at Rangers this weekend. Their Champions' League last-16 second-leg game at Villarreal is on Tuesday, and before that they travel to Falkirk today locked in an apparent three-way race for third place in the league - and a guaranteed berth in next season's Uefa Cup.

Celtic, who host Aberdeen today, are top. Hearts, 13 points off the lead but eight clear of Rangers, have second place in their grasp, and travel to bottom-placed Livingston.

That leaves Rangers, on 46 points, Hibernian, on 45, and the in-form Kilmarnock, on 44, vying for third place and the role of Hearts' main challengers for Champions' League football next season. Hibs are at home to Dundee United, while Jim Jefferies' Killie host Dunfermline, who suffered a league record 8-1 thrashing by Celtic a fortnight ago.

"Our aim is to be in the top six but I know my players are looking above us," Jefferies said. "They're saying 'we can catch Hibs and Rangers', so why not?"

Rangers have a full squad to select from against a Falkirk side yet to win at home. Dado Prso, who is suspended for the Villarreal game, is set to play. Barry Ferguson, Rangers' captain, is likely to feature in both games despite his long-term ankle problem.

Celtic against Aberdeen will go ahead despite the visitors asking the SPL to postpone the match due to atrocious weather.

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