Rangers will bounce back says Novo
Striker sure team will rally strongly for first Old Firm derby of the season at Ibrox
Thursday 01 October 2009
Nacho Novo has warned Celtic that Rangers will be unaffected by their home drubbing by Seville when the two sides meet for the first time this season at Ibrox on Sunday.
Walter Smith's men face their toughest possible test following the 4-1 Champions League Group G defeat by Seville on Tuesday night.
Victory for Celtic in this weekend's Old Firm derby will take them seven points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League, which adds to the pressure on thechampions, who unravelled quite spectacularly in the second half against the classy La Liga side.
However Novo, who scored Rangers' consolation goal with two minutes remaining after coming on as a second-half substitute, is confident that he and his team-mates will be champing at the bit come Sunday lunchtime.
"I don't think we will need a lift," the Spaniard said. "There is plenty of motivation for Old Firm games. It is a special game and everybody wants to play in them. Everyone from our side will go in to the game with a winning mentality and Celtic will be the same. We are at home and we will be positive and try to win the game."
Lee McCulloch was of a similar mindset to his Spanish team-mate, insisting that there will be no need for Smith to address his team before they go out to face Celtic. "I don't think there will be any problems getting up for Sunday," the former Wigan Athletic player said.
"It's an Old Firm game and we really shouldn't need a team talk for that. It's a big weekend for us. We are four points behind so it's obviously a very important game and it's down to us to get a positive result. We will take the positives out of the Seville game and for the first hour there were loads of positives."
Rangers were incensed by the denial of what looked to be a blatant penalty in the first half when their striker Steven Naismith was bundled to the ground inside the penalty area by the Seville defender Abdoulay Konko.
The Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson, however, ignored the appeals, incurring the wrath of Naismith, the Rangers manager Smith and the rest of the Ibrox squad after the game, with the fact that Konko headed the opener just after the interval adding to their sense of injustice.
Further strikes from Adriano, Luis Fabiano and Freddie Kanouté demoted Rangers to bottom of the section with only one point from two games but Novo and McCulloch remain confident that Rangers can recover to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Novo admitted some culpability for the demoralising defeat but insists all is not yet lost. "It is very disappointing, but these things happen in football," the Rangers striker said.
"We were sleeping a few times, including myself for the third goal when I lost the ball, and at this level you cannot do that. It was a bad result for us but there are still four games to go and it's still possible that we can do something."
McCulloch also believes that Rangers' Champions League hopes are not already dashed after just two games. "It was shown that we can play, in the first half especially we passed the ball and we had a couple of chances," he said.
"They didn't really threaten until they got the first goal. So I definitely think we can qualify. We are still in a good position and second place is definitely a target for us.
"The next Champions League game [against Unirea Urziceni] is a big game and we need a good result. Our draw in Stuttgart was a really good result and we were unlucky not to win so we are confident we can get that second place."
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food