Smith happy with 'strange' win
Rangers boss Walter Smith was happy with his side's 2-0 win over FK Zeta.
By Peter O'Rourke
Last Updated: 31/07/07 11:41pm
Rangers manager Walter Smith admits his side's 2-0 win over FK Zeta in the first leg of the Champions League second round qualifier at Ibrox was earned in "strange" circumstances.
The Glasgow outfit will take a two-goal lead to Montenegro next week for the return game after an incident-packed encounter which was not without concern to the nervy Light Blues.
After Kris Boyd had hit the post in 10 seconds and missed an unbelievable second-half sitter, the home fans were on edge until defender David Weir scored the 54th minute ahead with a hopeful lob from 30 yards, his first goal for the club since arriving from Everton in January.
However, Rangers right-back Alan Hutton was then sent off after receiving two yellow cards leaving Smith to reshuffle his side around.
But in the 72nd minute midfielder Lee McCulloch, making his competitive debut after signing from Wigan in the summer, headed in number two, helped by substitute Nacho Novo who bundled Zeta defender Milan Radulovic out of the way to allow the ball to trundle over the line.
Smith said: "We are happy to win 2-0 and not lose a goal, which is important in Europe.
"I thought it was a strange type of game. We didn't played well after the first 10 minutes but scored two strange goals.
"We had a few opportunities over and above that and we could have doubled our score but that would have flattered us.
"Away goals are vital in Europe and so I was delighted not to have given up a goal.
"We hope we can go over there and make a few opportunities."
Smith bristled at suggestions that the visitors, who had beaten FBK Kaunas in the last round, were easy pickings.
He said: "I knew it was going to be a hard game, I felt they were a good team.
"I heard them being referred to as minnows but the former Yugoslavia was always known as a country that had good players."
The Rangers manager believes Hutton was unfortunate to be sent off after the break.
After being shown a yellow card after bundling Zarko Korac to the ground just outside the Rangers penalty area, Hutton picked up a second card for encroaching at Janko Tumbasevic's subsequent free-kick.
But Smith said: "I thought his first booking was a bit harsh in the context of the game.
"There were a few fouls before that had gone without yellow cards."
FK Zeta coach Slobodan Halilovic refused to blame young keeper Sasa Ivanovic who was at fault for both goals.
He said: "I thought we played very well but we gave away two easy goals.
"I can't be angry with our keeper.
"He is only 21 and he has his whole career in front of him.
"He will play many more games and win and lose. So he needs to be supported."