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Football: AMO IS CUP AGAINST IT FOR A CAP.

Byline: KEVIN McALLION

LORENZO AMORUSO reckons leading Rangers to UEFA Cup glory still won't be enough to land him a call-up for his country.

The Italian defender has been the driving force behind Gers' resurgence under Alex McLeish and will need to be at his best when Feyenoord hit town on Thursday.

If the Ibrox side triumph over two legs it will set up a quarter-final tie with Leeds or PSV and Amo claims his pals fear no-one.

But the big stopper admits he has no chance of an Azzurri place even if he goes on to lift the UEFA Cup in Rotterdam in May. He has watched snobbish national bosses ignore a host of players outside Italy and isn't waiting on a call from Italy boss Giovanni Trappatoni.

Amo said: "In Italy they have a strange mentality. I have seen it with players like Paolo di Canio, Marco Simeone and Gianfranco Zola. As soon as we leave Italy no-one is interested.

"I would love to play international football and it would have been great to play for Scotland but it's something that's not going to happen."

Amoruso will be pitted against former Celtic striker Pierre Van Hooijdonk on Thursday night and is relishing the challenge.

Van Hooijdonk left Glasgow just before Amo's arrival in 1997 but they will finally lock horns at Ibrox.

And Amo reckons the Gers defence will have no problems keeping Feyenoord's impressive strike force at bay.

He said: "Van Hooijdonk is a good player but we have enough quality at the back to deal with him and Jon Dahl Tomasson."

Rangers' confidence is based mainly on their superb performance against Celtic in the CIS Cup semi-final when they dug deep to grind out an extra-time win.

And Lorenzo insisted: "We have a great chance to get through, especially if we play like we did against Celtic. It wasn't just the result but the performance too. We showed we were strong all over the pitch."

Rangers have been a massive disappointment in Europe over recent seasons but they have a chance to set that pitiful record straight against Feyenoord.

And Amo admits he's as puzzled as anyone over Gers' woeful European showings.

He said: "Every season is different. Last year and the one before we went out of the Champions League and UEFA Cup before Christmas for strange reasons.

"There is no pressure on us. Of course we would like go further in Europe but relax is a word you can never use in football."

The Dutch high flyers are dangerous opponents and Rangers won't have things any easier against Leeds or PSV if they progress.

But Amoruso is adamant his side can go on and claim the trophy to salvage their season.

He said: "We know this is the most important game of this term because if we win we can go through to the final.

"The UEFA Cup is the best competition after the Champions League.

"We know if we win it or even get to the semi-final it will be a fantastic run for us."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 17, 2002
Words:512
Previous Article:Football: Ono I won't forget Gers.
Next Article:Football: Fergie will lead us to Euro glory.


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