Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

I can be a Euro star

Northern Ireland International Steve Davis aims to fill the inspirational boots of Barry Ferguson this evening

Steven Davis is ready to fill the inspirational boots of skipper Barry Ferguson as Rangers go for European glory tonight but insists he feels no pressure ahead of arguably the biggest game of his career.

The Northern Ireland midfielder will bare the brunt of the Ibrox men's responsibility in the midfield engine-room with Ferguson and Kevin Thompson forced to sit out the UEFA Cup first-leg with Fiorentina through suspension.

Davis has been an outstanding success since joining the Glasgow giants on loan from Fulham in January and his exploits in Europe have earned rave reviews.

While Jean Claude Darcheville and Steven Whittaker fired Walter Smith's men to the last four in Lisbon earlier this month, it was the tireless performance from Davis that was subsequently singled out by the boss.

His only goal so far has also come in the UEFA Cup this season but he feels no added pressure ahead of the Italian job round this evening despite the suspensions and injuries to key players like Allan McGregor and Lee McCullough.

"There's no getting away from the fact this is a massive game but I don't feel any extra pressure at all," said the 23-year old Cullybackey man.

"If there is one thing we have shown this season is that we are a tight team group and everyone in the squad has played a part.

"Obviously we will miss Barry and Kevin but now other players will have the chance to show their quality.

"The manager has made sure we have focussed on one game at a time and the way he has done that is to pick a side for each individual game.

"The best thing about that is that we all know how each other plays and if we get injuries or suspensions then people are ready to come in and do a job.

"We've been dealt a cruel blow in the past week or so with several players getting injured too but we can't start using that as any sort of excuse.

"We will be prepared to do the job in front of us and I'm sure that is what we'll do.

The Rangers squad will go into the game fortified by information gleaned from dissecting videos of their opponents after a final training session.

Davis believes they will be perfectly prepared to cause another shock in their relentless pursuit of a sensational quadruple of trophy successes.

"I don't know a great deal about Fiorentina but we know they are a good side if they have gone this far in the tournament so far and knocked out a team like Everton," said Davis.

"But we must have something going for us too. A lot of our success in the UEFA Cup so far has been down to getting a good start at Ibrox and we have to do that again.

"Having got this far, we want to book our place for the final in Manchester but we have to be disciplined.

"Before we can even think about that there is a lot of hard work to be done at home and abroad but we are ready for it."

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