Champions League

Rangers manager Smith wary of dangerous Unirea

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GLASGOW, Scotland (AP)

Rangers manager Walter Smith won't be underestimating Unirea Urziceni at Ibrox on Tuesday, despite facing a Romanian opponent making its first appearance in the Champions League. Both teams have collected just one point from their first two Group G matches, but the Scottish champions are last on goal difference. "They have shown themselves to be a good side," Smith said of the team coached by former Chelsea defender Dan Petrescu. "It's not often that smaller clubs can come up and defeat the bigger clubs in their country. Unirea have done that so obviously they are a good team. "If we had been drawn against Steaua Bucharest, for instance, we would have imagined an extremely tough task. Unirea beat them to the championship last season and, if anything, this season they will put an emphasis on the Champions League. That's what makes them very dangerous from our point of view." Smith believes the consecutive matches against Unirea could go a long way to deciding either side's chances of progress. "For both clubs, it's exactly the same," Smith said. "When the back-to-back games are over, it gives you an indication for success or otherwise. "These two games will be vitally important for both clubs. We will just have to make sure we play in the manner in which we hope can bring us a level of success." Rangers defender Madjid Bougherra is back in the squad despite returning late from international duty with Algeria last week and missing Saturday's Scottish Premier League victory at St. Johnstone. Smith accepted the center back's claims that a bag containing his passport and mobile phone were stolen in Paris while en route to Glasgow on Thursday. Bougherra has already proved his worth in the Champions League this season, scoring the equalizer which helped Rangers claim its only point in the opening match against second-place Stuttgart. "We are obviously pleased that he is back in the squad," Smith said. "We hadn't envisaged the problem he would have coming back from Algeria last week. But that's finished with now and we just look forward to getting him back on the pitch."


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