Whittaker issues rallying call
Steven Whittaker has issued a rallying call ahead of Rangers' crucial clash with Malmo on Wednesday.
Last Updated: 02/08/11 7:42pm
Steven Whittaker has issued a rallying call ahead of Rangers' crucial UEFA Champions League qualifier with Malmo on Wednesday.
The Scottish champions go into the second leg of the qualifier a goal behind after a Daniel Larsson strike swung the tie in favour of the Swedes at Ibrox last week.
Whittaker expects the visitors to be out of the traps quickly at the Swedbank stadium as they bid to remain in the lucrative competition.
The full-back said: "We have to put right what went wrong in the game last week. We will have a point to prove.
"We know we weren't at it in the first leg and we are determined to put it right this time. We need to score goals to go through.
"Hopefully we can stay strong at the back but be quite offensive as well. It's important that we start well.
"We haven't done that at the start of the season and it's important that we get off to a flying start."
Rangers suffered a disappointing start to their campaign when they were held to a draw against Hearts in their SPL opener, before slumping to the 1-0 defeat to Malmo a few days later.
But Whittaker believes a much-needed victory at St Johnstone at the weekend has provided the necessary confidence booster ahead of Wednesday's clash.
He said: "It's definitely something we can take into this game.
"We've had a slow start to the season but we looked better at the weekend and we can take confidence from that into the game on Wednesday.
"It settled the whole squad down. It was our first win of the season and it just took that little bit of pressure off. Now we want to continue the winning streak."
Meanwhile, Rangers manager Ally McCoist insists he has no concerns about the safety of his players ahead of the clash.
Malmo's league match against Djurgardens was abandoned after just 11 minutes on Saturday after firecrackers were thrown on the pitch - the second time this season that a match has been halted at the Swedbank Stadium.
And McCoist claims his side are focused only on the game and remaining in the competition, and he does not fear a repeat of the scenes at the weekend.
He said: "The players are looking forward to the game. These things happen in football and it goes without saying that we could do without them but our players will be fine, they are totally focused on the game. I've got no concerns at all about anything like that."
McCoist admits he has no idea how the disruption to Malmo's preparations will impact on the clash.
He added: "It could work for or against us. You could say they have had a bit of a rest.
"I looked at the team and the coach maybe rested one or two players and then it ended up with the vast majority of them getting a rest with the game only lasting for 11 minutes.
"You could look at that way, or you could look at it that they could have done with a match. Only time will tell but there are positives and negatives that the match was abandoned after 11 minutes."
The Rangers boss added: "The game is perfectly poised in the respect that both management teams have got a lot to think about. Strangely, it might be to our benefit that we know we need to score.
"Malmo have got the decisions to make, whether to come out and go for the goal which they think might be the killer goal or do they sit back and try to hit us on the break.
"The one definite is the fact we need to score. If we don't do that, we're out. In that respect, we know we have to score at least one goal and it was encouraging that Nikica Jelavic and Steven Naismith were both on the scoresheet on Saturday.
"They both had chances in previous games and Steven also scored against Hearts. We felt, particularly in the second half against Malmo and Hearts, that we had more opportunities to score and we didn't.
"It's very important that your forwards are playing with confidence and scoring and it will have done them no harm to score on Saturday."