Walter Smith says Rangers FC will not be underestimating Bursaspor as they welcome the Turkish champions to Ibrox looking to build on their opening-day draw at Manchester United FC in UEFA Champions League Group C.
Walter Smith, Rangers manager
Bursaspor are not an unknown quantity to us now; we have gathered quite a bit of information on them. They found themselves in a tough situation against Valencia in their opening match. I watched the game and it wasn't a 4-0 game, but it was a typical Champions League game. As the home side, they tried to push forward and they were hurt on the break. It's something we, too, have to be wary of.
We have a similar situation in that, not coming from one of the top European leagues, we have a bit of adapting to do when we play in the Champions League. However, we are gaining experience in making that switch and we would hope that will show. But I don't accept the statement that we are favourites; if we were going up against Fenerbahçe SK or Galatasaray AŞ, people would say we have a really tough game ahead. Yet Bursaspor finished above both those clubs last season and are top of their league again.
We are not underestimating the threat they pose.
Ertuğrul Sağlam, Bursaspor coach
In the first game we suffered an unexpectedly heavy defeat. It was a surprise to us and it didn't reflect our performance. That was due to inexperience at this level. But we have five important games ahead of us. Tomorrow's match is, of course, extremely important. But this match is not a third and fourth-placed play-off. Rangers got a draw against Manchester United in the first game so anything is possible.
We aim to progress from this section. And, of course, if we can't do that, our next goal will be to secure the Europa League place. We have analysed Rangers, as we do all opponents, and we realise Kenny Miller is an important player for them. He is in good form and we know we must take necessary steps to negate his impact. But we cannot focus completely on individuals. Obviously, in the first game we didn't achieve what we set out to. We can only concentrate on doing better this time.
Midfielder Steven Davis came through training on Tuesday and has been declared fit. Davis was a doubt after limping off with a hamstring injury in the 3-2 victory over Aberdeen FC on Sunday. A question mark hangs over James Beattie (hip) and John Fleck is still recovering from a hamstring injury sustained in pre-season.
Sağlam rested Dimitar Ivankov, Volkan Şen and Federico Insúa on the bench for the weekend game against Bucaspor while Ivan Ergić was left out completely as a precaution following a minor hamstring problem. All will be fit for Wednesday as the coach declared his squad injury free.
26/09/10 Aberdeen FC 2-3 Rangers
(Vernon 10, Maguire 30; Miller 34pen 52; Jelavić 67)
Kenny Miller has scored in all six of Rangers' Scottish Premier League games this season, ten goals in all. Unbeaten in all competitions this season, Walter Smith's team have begun their Premier League title defence with six successive wins.
24/09/10 Bursaspor 1-0 Bucaspor
Hüseyin Çimşir scored his first goal for Bursaspor in what was his 38th appearance for the club. The strike was also the 1,000th goal Bursaspor have scored at home in the Turkish top flight. Bursaspor have started their Süper Lig defence with five successive wins, conceding a solitary goal.
Did you know?
Smith was a 26-year-old defender at Dundee United FC when his side lost 1-0 to Bursaspor in a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first round second leg on 6 November 1974. He has not encountered any team from Turkey since but finally gets the chance to make amends in what is the maiden meeting between Rangers and Bursaspor.
For more information see the match background.
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