Whittaker eyes Europa run
Steven Whittaker denies that an extended run in the Europa League will hinder Rangers' domestic progress.
Last Updated: 17/02/11 10:53am
Rangers wideman Steven Whittaker denies that an extended run in the Europa League will hinder their domestic progress.
Three years ago the Light Blues reached the final of the competition, eventually losing out to Zenit St Petersburg, but their progress in Europe meant they suffered in the SPL.
Now Walter Smith's Gers face a double header against Portuguese outfit Sporting Lisbon and Whittaker, 26, is adamant they can balance a domestic campaign with a European one.
"It does feel similar. With the weather we had during the winter, there is now a backlog of fixtures and it looks like being a similar kind of run-in," he told the Daily Record.
"Hopefully, having experienced it, it will help us this year. We have performed well in Europe this season especially here at Ibrox.
"We're in both competitions and we'll try our best in both. If the fixtures come thick and fast we'll just need to deal with it and try to get the results.
"Every season is a chance to make your name, being successful and bringing silverware. I believe we can get results in all of them."
Whittaker's claim is even more pertinent as Rangers take on Old Firm rivals Celtic in the league on Sunday, with the Hoops currently holding a five-point lead at the top of the table.
Midfielder Pedro Mendes returns to Ibrox with Sporting on Thursday night, and Whittaker admits his side face a tough task despite the fact that their opponents are not in top form.
"Pedro's a fantastic player technically. He can thread through passes as he showed here as a player," he added.
"You read things with them saying they are not performing their best at the moment.
"But they'll have good qualities and be technically gifted so we're looking forward to the task."