Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Rangers 0 Aberdeen 0

Lee McCulloch believes next Sunday’s Old Firm derby has come at the right time for Rangers — although he is concerned about their inability to score.

Saturday's stalemate against Aberdeen at Ibrox was the Scottish champions' third successive goalless draw in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, having previously been held by Kilmarnock and Motherwell.

Next up in domestic competition is Celtic — who now sit four points clear at the summit — but McCulloch feels such an important game could be exactly what is needed to spur Walter Smith's men back into action because of the intense pressure they will be under to deliver.

“It is a frustrating spell,” admitted the versatile midfielder.

“We had the bulk of possession against Aberdeen and passed the ball about okay but were just lacking creativity in the final third, that cutting edge to create a chance and put the ball away.

“We created some chances but maybe not enough for the possession we had. We just didn't have that killer instinct in the final third. It's definitely a concern for us.

“The strikers will want more chances and will want to put the ball in the back of the net. It's frustrating for everybody.

“A lot of teams go through these spells and I think we have to just work that bit harder on the training pitch. I don't know whether it's about confidence but I think we can put things right.”

Before facing their arch-rival on Sunday, Rangers welcome Sevilla to Ibrox in the Champions League.

Having already earned a credible draw in Stuttgart in their Group G opener, McCulloch hopes this is another game which can help kick-start the club's season.

But he believes Sevilla are not often given the credit they deserve and are wrongly overlooked in favour of the giants of Spanish football.

“It will be a tough game on Tuesday night and everyone seems to be underestimating them,” he said.

“You've got Real Madrid and Barcelona but I don't think they are far behind to tell you the truth; I think they are right up there.

“It will be a great game, with a fantastic atmosphere. If you do well in the big games, you get confidence.

“Tuesday is going to be massive for us and, hopefully, if we can come through that, it will set us up nicely for the Celtic game.”

While Rangers are still searching for the catalyst to launch their season, Mark Kerr believes Aberdeen found theirs at Ibrox at the weekend.

The Dons arrived in Glasgow still reeling from their midweek Co-operative Insurance Cup exit to Irn-Bru First Division Dundee.

Kerr said: “This was a massive game and, after the disappointment of the Dundee game, sometimes it's better to come to a big club like Rangers to try to get the points. It puts a bit of pride back in the team. ”

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