Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Rangers 2 St. Mirren 1

Sasa Papac admits he thought Rangers were set to rack up a much bigger scoreline against St Mirren in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

But the full-back says he was more than satisfied just to secure a 2-1 win in the end after coming through a tough Champions League game against Unirea Urziceni in Romania just days earlier.

The Scottish champions enjoyed a great start to the Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash when Kris Boyd opened the scoring after just 17 seconds.

But there was to be no onslaught as Boyd was forced to wait until the second half to claim his second of the day, before Stephen O'Donnell set up a tense finale when he pulled a goal back with two minutes to go.

“If you score in the first minute, you think it will be easy,” admitted Papac.

“But St Mirren played well against us. Even so, I am happy with our own performance.

“It was a good day for us because it's important to take three points, especially after the Champions League.

“It's not easy, we only had three days after the Champions League and we knew how difficult that would be.

“We tried to win this game and took the three points. We still haven't lost a game in the SPL this season so I think we are going good.”

Rangers' squad was stretched to the limit again, with illness to Steven Smith, Kevin Thomson and Kyle Lafferty adding to an injury list which already included Pedro Mendes and Madjid Bougherra.

Steven Whittaker was then forced out of the game at half-time with a hamstring strain, an injury which is a concern for Scotland boss George Burley ahead of the friendly in Wales.

However, Papac believes the performances of teenagers Danny Wilson and John Fleck were once again a major positive for Walter Smith's men.

And, with the likes of Kyle Hutton and Stephen Stirling named on the bench against Saints, he believes their Murray Park complex is finally paying off in terms of home-grown talent.

“We lost a couple of players but it meant a couple more players could play, like Danny and Flecky,” said Papac.

“They were both great. I know how difficult it is for a defender like Danny, it's not easy. But he plays well, he is a very clever boy and he learns quickly.

“He has a big future here and he can be a great player.

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