Ferguson expects Gers to avoid heartache

December 12, 2007

Rangers captain Barry Ferguson admits he could not stomach another glorious failure so soon after his Hampden heartache with Scotland.

The midfielder, 29, missed out on his dream of leading his country to Euro 2008 when Scotland crashed to defeat against world champions Italy in their final qualification match last month.

Ferguson now finds himself on the verge of another winner-takes-all match when Lyon come calling tonight.

A draw would secure Rangers' safe passage to the last 16 of the Champions League, while defeat to the French champions would spell the end of another dream for Ferguson.

'Scotland was a big disappointment because we were desperate to get through,' he said.

'The national team were so near so I wouldn't want the same situation. But I'm confident we'll get the win.

'We want to play in the Champions League - that's where the best teams and the best players are.'

Rangers are already guaranteed European football after Christmas but Ferguson has no interest in consolation prizes.

'We're not even thinking about the UEFA Cup because we've done ever so well to get this far,' he said.

'It will be a big disappointment if we don't get there but I'm confident that we've got the players who can handle the occasion.

'With the national team also doing well it would finish off a great year. We want to go through and it would be great for Scottish football.

'Celtic have done it and deserved to do it. They came second in their group and hopefully we can do the same.'

Rangers sent shockwaves around Europe by claiming a 3-0 victory in Lyon the last time the two clubs met and Ferguson is hoping for more of the same this evening.

He said: 'Our performance in Lyon was probably the best I've been involved in in Europe. The three goals we scored were great goals and everyone on the park played their part.

'Lyon are a great team with some great players but they won't be going in thinking 'This is an easy game'.

'They know it's going to be a difficult game and hopefully we can produce the same performance we did over there.

'The gaffer told us they would come at us a bit and we could find a bit of space behind them. That helped us and hopefully they'll do the same this time and have a go at us.'

Meanwhile, Rangers boss Walter Smith is expecting Lyon to regard their visit to Glasgow as a revenge mission.

He said: 'They have been the champions of France for the past six seasons, so to lose 3-0 at home to us caused them some embarrassment.

'So their motivation will be at its highest level, not just to qualify, but to make up for that result at home.'

But, as far as Smith is concerned, there is no other team who would deserve their place in the last 16 more than Rangers.

He added: 'We've had to work really hard in our group - I don't think any team has had to work harder than Rangers to get where they are.

'The other teams have an individual talent that is probably a little bit above us, but we've worked extremely hard as a team, and that is the foundation upon which we are built as a team in Europe.'