Wednesday 22 November 2017

McCoist targets European return

Ally McCoist admits Rangers' friendly against Liverpool has made him even more determined to ensure a return to the European stage next season.

The Scottish champions crashed out of both the Champions League and the Europa League at the qualifying stages earlier in the campaign at the hands of Swedish side Malmo and Slovenians Maribor respectively.

Rangers and Liverpool both made use of the free midweek as a result of no European action to face each other in a friendly at Ibrox, with the home side coming out on top with a 1-0 win.

McCoist said: "I can't speak for Liverpool but for this club Europe has to be a target and we want to play in Europe every year.

"We have been fairly successful in playing in Europe over the years and this year has been a big, big disappointment, of course it has.

"Tonight was an opportunity, albeit in a friendly, to play against one of the teams you would recognise as being a top European side and that's where you want to be.

"You want to play against the top teams and the top players in Europe."

Lee McCulloch grabbed the only goal of the game on a night where both clubs handed game-time to players who have not featured as regularly as others this season.

And, despite the nature of the meeting, McCoist believes the victory shows that the difference in quality between the top teams in Scotland and England may not be quite as great as some believe it to be.

He said: "I don't think there is that massive gulf. You can look back on our games against Manchester United in the Champions League, where the team handled themselves against one of the top sides in the competition.

"But you look at some of the performances this year in Europe and the pessimists would argue there is a gap. But I definitely don't think the gap is just as big as some of the pessimists would have us believe."

Asked about the ability of Rangers to reclaim their place among Europe's elite once again, Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish said: "There is no reason why they can't get into the Champions League, is there? They have been there quite recently.

"We're not in Europe so who are we to talk? We've got to step up to the plate as well and get ourselves into Europe, so we have got something in common."

On the meeting with Rangers, he added: "It was worthwhile in some aspects. We've got some boys who haven't played so it was a useful exercise for some of the boys."

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