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Luck and hard work key for McCulloch

Despite a fine start to their UEFA Champions League campaign, Lee McCulloch knows Rangers FC still have "a long way to go" if they are to qualify from Group E.

McCulloch at Stuttgart Airport on Monday
McCulloch at Stuttgart Airport on Monday ©Getty Images

Lee McCulloch admits that, despite a fine start to their UEFA Champions League campaign, Rangers FC still have "a long way to go" if they are to progress – starting with their fixture against point-less VfB Stuttgart in Germany.

Lyon await
"It's a big game for us and we came over here to get a positive result," said the 29-year-old, whose side go into the match second in Group E, a solitary point above Matchday 6 opponents Olympique Lyonnais. "To be here, in the situation we're in, is a credit to ourselves but there's still a long way to go." One hundred and eighty minutes to be exact, and if some minds are straying to the 12 December showdown with Lyon, McCulloch is keen to take it one step at a time.

Hopes of progress
First up are Stuttgart, and should Rangers triumph at the Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion and FC Barcelona prevail in France in the section's other fixture, the Scottish club will advance to the first knockout round for the second time in three seasons. "We have to be confident, otherwise there's no point turning up, and getting to the last 16 would be a great achievement, especially given the group we are in," said the Scottish international. "But that's miles and miles away. There's still loads of football to be played and we need a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work."

Different side
And Stuttgart could prove hard work. After losing their first four matches, the Bundesliga champions have only pride to play for but they are a very different team from the one beaten 2-1 in Glasgow on Matchday 1. Then, VfB went into the game on the back of just two victories in five domestic outings; this time they have mustered five in five, a run that has not gone unnoticed in the Rangers camp. "They weren't at their best when we played at Ibrox but they've started to hit form over the last couple of weeks so it's going to be difficult for us," McCulloch continued. "We've shown we can win away from home, at Lyon, so we come here confident but we know they play at a good standard. It's important that we start well and win the battle in the first ten, 15 minutes. It's vital."