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Champions League: Naismith insists Rangers are ready for Malmo test

By Lisa Gray

Steven Naismith believes Rangers can now head into the second leg of their Champions League qualifier against Malmo with confidence after securing their first win of the season.

Naismith and Nikica Jelavic were both on the scoresheet as the Scottish champions claimed a 2-0 victory at St Johnstone in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League on Saturday.

The much-needed confidence-booster came after last week's draw against Hearts and the 1-0 defeat to Malmo at Ibrox, which leaves their hopes of progressing to the Champions League group stages in the balance.

Naismith said: “The only positive we can take out of the first leg is that we did create so many chances.

“We did play so bad but we created four or five chances and on another day we might have scored.

“If we can create that many chances over there, hopefully we can take a few.

“As a team we would expect to be much better and create some chances.

“We are a bit relieved just to get off the mark this season, although last week, especially in the second half against Hearts, I thought we played really well.”

Naismith hopes his partnership with Jelavic can prove to be the key to success against Malmo, whose own league game against Djurgarden was abandoned on Saturday after firecrackers were thrown onto the pitch.

He added: “I'm enjoying playing alongside Jelavic, he is a very clever player and he makes a lot of decisions for you in terms of putting the ball in the right place for you.

“So far this season, we have had a good understanding.

“He has shown when he has played that he has got top quality and some of his finishes are up there with the best.

“If we can get him fit and keep him fit, he is definitely going to be a big asset for the club.”

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