Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Sir Alex Ferguson hails Manchester United goal hero Wayne Rooney

Sir Alex Ferguson lavished praise on Wayne Rooney as the striker scored an 87th-minute penalty to earn Manchester United a 1-0 win at Rangers and book their place in the Champions League knockout stage last night.

Rooney, making his first start since ending speculation over his future by signing a new five-year contract, sent Allan McGregor the wrong way from the spot.

The win put United three points clear of Valencia at the top of Group C, with the two teams due to meet at Old Trafford to decide who wins the pool in the final game.

"It took a lot of courage to take the penalty kick," Ferguson said on ITV 1.

"It was not an easy night, he missed a couple of chances but that's what you expect with the rustiness in his game. We are pleased for him."

He added: "Every time he scores a goal he wants to celebrate with the fans and players."

On Rooney's fitness, the Scot added: "He's got a bit to go."

A draw against Valencia would see United top the group.

"We want to go and win the group," added Ferguson. "We've got Valencia at home, we can look forward to that."

United were awarded the penalty when Steven Naismith was penalised for a dangerous challenge on Fabio, catching him in the face with his foot as he looked to hook the ball away.

"Little bit disappointed to lose out to that type of goal. I don't think there was any great intent in Steven Naismith's challenge," Rangers boss Walter Smith said on ITV 1.

Rangers are at least guaranteed third place in the group and a place in the Europa League.

"We are happy on one respect that we do have European football after Christmas," added Smith.

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