Classy Aluko responds to Ibrox pressure
Rangers 2 Dunfermline 1: Sone Aluko insists he can handle the pressure of life at Rangers after bouncing back from criticism following his debut to inspire a 2-1 win over Dunfermline in the Scottish Premier League.
Sone Aluko insists he can handle the pressure of life at Rangers after bouncing back from criticism following his debut to inspire a 2-1 win over Dunfermline in the Scottish Premier League.
The former Aberdeen winger was the subject of unwanted headlines when he was slow to react and inadvertently played Manuel Pascali onside for Kilmarnock's winner last week.
He shrugged off the setback to produce an impressive performance on his Ibrox bow with a man-of-the-match display that helped secure the three points.
Reflecting on last week's game at Rugby Park, he said: “At the time it was one of those moments where I thought 'oh no.'
“I watch all my games back and I cringed watching it, but that's football and it's not a problem for me.
“If you make those mistakes at any club you are going to get criticism. I've been in football long enough to know that I can deal with it. It's not an issue.
“On my debut at Aberdeen I had a similar incident, but you just have to get on with it and be strong mentally and start again.”
Aluko has been thrown straight into the action at Rangers despite being without a club since his Dons contract ended in the summer.
He said: “It was tough being out, but I worked hard when I wasn't playing. I wasn't just sitting around. I'm gaining the rewards for that now.
“You can't replicate playing in competitive football so the first few weeks have been tough, but it's easier when you are playing for a team like Rangers who make it easier for you.
“I'm not far off being 100%.”
Rangers opened the scoring on Saturday thanks to an own goal by Alex Keddie, before Aluko won a penalty that was converted by Nikica Jelavic.
Dunfermline pulled a goal back through Joe Cardle, but the Scottish champions held on for a much-needed win following a goalless draw against St Johnstone and the defeat at Kilmarnock in their last two outings.
Pars boss Jim McIntyre hit out at referee Steve Conroy afterwards for the penalty decision, but Aluko insists he did not dive.
He said: “When you are at full pace and the pitch is wet and you're twisting and turning, with any contact it's hard for you to stay on your feet.
“I felt there was contact and I fell over. I'm not one that normally dives.
“I thought it was a penalty and obviously the ref did as well so you can't really complain.
“The players around me didn't really protest so I don't see what the issue is.”
Rangers boss Ally McCoist was thrilled with the efforts of Aluko.
He said: “I thought Aluko was terrific.
“He's started really well and we have been really pleased with him.
“He's talented and I still believe there is a lot more to come from him.”