Scottish Premier League

McCoist to give keeper a Bell

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Wed, 13 Feb 2013 10:32:00

Ernesto Valverde is under no illusions about the task facing Valencia after they slipped to a 2-1 loss in the opening leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Paris Saint-Germain.

Carlo Ancelotti's men took command at the Mestalla with first-half goals from Argentinian pair Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore, although Valencia were handed a late lifeline with Adil Rami's strike.

PSG also saw star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent off in the dying seconds and the Sweden international will now miss the return match in Paris in two weeks.

However, Valverde is aware their opponents are still favourites to progress to the quarter-finals, even without their leading scorer.

"We have to recognise they are a great team with great players and they showed their strength," he said in quotes on Marca.

"Eventually we managed to score a goal and that gives us some hope, but we know the return match will be very difficult.

"There are no buts. They are very strong and every counter-attack is very dangerous. In all honesty, we were probably too naive in the first half.

"We must be aware they have outstanding players like Lucas Moura and Lavezzi. Ibrahimovic's red card will not really help us as they have many resources in their squad.

"It will be complicated in Paris but it is a match, we will go there to play and we have to try."

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A late Oliver Risser own goal and a Gary McDonald strike secured a third win in four for the Shrimps and the gap to the play-off places is now seven points.

But Bentley was more concerned with putting more distance between themselves and the relegation zone.

After the Globe Arena clash, he said: "It wasn't a classic game by any means but it was a vital win as it took us 12 points clear of Aldershot and past the 40-point mark which is always a confidence booster.

"It was a scrappy game, but we kept our cool and got the first goal which is all important in this league as the stats show time and time again.

"We were all disappointed after the defeat here on Saturday, but I asked for a reaction and I got one with a good, solid and disciplined performance."

The powerful striker claimed his first goal since returning to the club in a deadline day switch from Southampton by putting the Blades ahead in the 38th minute of the League One clash at Gigg Lane.

Jamie Murphy wrapped up the points on the hour with his first strike since signing from Motherwell.

Wilson reckons Forte's partnership with Dave Kitson could prove the difference in the race to reach the Championship.

"Jonathan was a threat all the game," said Wilson.

"There were a couple of incidents when he was unlucky and a couple when he should've shot earlier but maybe that's a bit of ring rust from not playing.

"But then he comes on and gets at people the way he did and that's exactly the type of goal we expected him to get.

"I love Kits too. I think he's a great player. He links the ball so intelligently and he sees things people don't see. That's why he's played Premier League and commanded fees like he has.

"At our level he's the difference at times and I'm delighted we've managed to keep hold of him."

A late Oliver Risser own goal sent Morecambe on their way to victory, before the midfielder's misfortune was compounded by a Gary McDonald strike while Danny Hylton pulled a late goal back at the Globe Arena.

Holdsworth's side remain in the League Two relegation zone and the manager has warned his players that they have got to cut out the individual errors if the club are to avoid the drop.

"The table doesn't lie and at the moment it shows we have not been good enough," said Holdsworth.

"I have a good, honest bunch of players who I trust, but we keep making important mistakes at wrong times and keep getting punished.

"We looked strong but then gave away a sloppy first goal because we didn't mark like we should at a set piece and got punished. That meant we had to chase the game and we got caught out for a second goal.

"We work hard in training not to make those mistakes but we keep making them and that has to stop."

The centre-back was forced off the pitch on a stretcher during Hearts' 3-1 defeat by Dundee United on Saturday after his ankle took his whole weight when he landed awkwardly following an aerial challenge.

Manager John McGlynn told Hearts TV: "He got a scan and it was bad news. He has torn a ligament completely and the other ligament is hanging by a thread, according to Rob Marshall, our physiotherapist.

"We have to wait for a specialist to see where he goes with Marius and what the next stage is.

"He is going to be out for a couple of months at least, I would expect.

"It's not been totally confirmed but I don't think he will be back any earlier than that."

Goals in either half from Tom Adeyemi and Marcello Trotta were enough for the Bees to record their first success in eight and Smith admitted those strikes were key on Tuesday night.

He said: "We got in their box but couldn't execute. They got in ours and they did simple as that."

Smith defended the controversial decision to drop Mark Roberts for the first time in his three-year Stevenage career, insisting he wanted fresher legs to combat Brentford.

"The bottom line is that is not an issue. The difference was that you have to hit the target to win games and we didn't do that," he said.

"We are at a stage now where you begin to look over your shoulder but we have a strong competitive unit here and they are all working full tilt to turn it round."

Rangers are trying to sign Bell on a pre-contract agreement that would see the Scotland cap join on September 1, when the club's transfer embargo expires.

But that does not necessarily spell the end for 34-year-old Alexander, who has been in talks with the club over a new contract since the end of last year.

McCoist told RangersTV: "We are interested in Cammy Bell. We would like to keep Neil as well because I want to have two strong goalkeepers and then it would give me the opportunity to send Scott Gallacher out on loan.

"Cammy is a player we have looked at and he fits the bill in terms of his ability and his availability in terms of being out of contract in the summer.

"Nothing has been finalised but he is a player we hope to have a chat with and find out what his situation is."

Bell, 26, revealed on Tuesday that his agent was talking to a number of clubs including Killie.

Bell said: "There has been discussions but I haven't signed anything with anyone yet.

"My agent has spoken to a number of different clubs. It's not just one club.

"He's been talking to Kilmarnock for the last two or three months, and there's been three or four other clubs who have contacted him to ask about my situation."

McCoist also revealed he was hoping to tie down 18-year-old winger Fraser Aird on a long-term deal and reported bad news on captain Lee McCulloch's recovery from an ankle problem, which has kept him out since January 5.

McCoist said: "Lee is struggling unfortunately. He has been having this pain in his ankle and we are going to send him back for another scan.

"Obviously the injury is not right and we need to get it right."

Defender Ross Perry (hamstring) and striker Francisco Sandaza (thigh) are both expected to miss the Irn-Bru Third Division clash with Clyde on Saturday.

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