Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Thomson wary of yet more twists for Rangers

Kevin Thomson

Kevin Thomson insists Rangers did not need a reminder that the Scottish Premier League title race is far from over after dropping points to Hearts at the weekend.

The Scottish champions were forced to battle for a draw against ten-man Jambos, with Northern Ireland youngster Andrew Little coming off the bench to rescue a last-gasp share of the points.

A win would have allowed Rangers to move 12 points clear at the summit ahead of Celtic's game 24 hours later but Thomson claims complacency was never an issue.

“We have never said it's over,” said the midfielder. “We've got to be confident in our own ability that we can beat whatever team we come up against and people expect us to win every week.

“But full credit to the whole of the SPL, the games are tough. It was a struggle on Saturday, scoring in injury time.

“We felt as though we dominated the game without creating too many chances. But these are the obstacles that are going to be put in front of us if we want to retain the title.

“We just need to show a desire and hunger to try to push ourselves over the winning line.”

Speaking ahead of tonight’s clash at St Mirren, Thomson added: “I'm not surprised by our lead in the SPL. We are all confident in our own ability and that we are good enough to retain the title. It's a challenge we need to accept as a team and we've got that character and belief within the squad that we can retain the title.

“Celtic did it for a few years and we managed to claw it back off them. Now it's up to us to try and retain it.”

Rangers are boosted by the return of several players for their Clydesdale Bank Premier League game against St Mirren.

Kenny Miller (hamstring), Steven Naismith (hamstring), Nacho Novo (ankle) and Pedro Mendes (knee) — who was on the bench against Hearts at the weekend — should all be in the squad.

However, some key personnel remain unavailable, with Kris Boyd recovering from a hernia operation and Madjid Bougherra still on international duty in the African Nations Cup.

Asked whether he had been hoping for an early Algeria exit from the tournament, Smith smiled: “It's hard for anyone in football to say they would be pleased to see them getting knocked out.

“But, in a word, yes! It would have meant us having Madjid Bougherra back.”

Meanwhile, striker Nacho Novo was has been fined £500 and severely censured by a Scottish Football Association disciplinary committee for his one-fingered gesture during November's Clydesdale Bank Premier League game at Aberdeen.

The incident took place immediately after the Ibrox club's 1-0 defeat at Pittodrie on November 28.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre