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Rangers must not Stutter in Europe.

RANGERS will feel they have some questions to answer when they face Stuttgart this evening.

An emphatic 4-2 defeat by Hearts was hardly the ideal preparation for their return to the Champions League.

Most worrying of all for the Ibrox club would have been the disintegration of a defence which the Walter Smith-inspired revival has been built around.

Players like Carlos Cuellar (above) and David Weir, who have been outstanding since forming their partnership at the start of the season, had a bad day at the of fice and will want to avoid a repeat.

Manager Smith has already rejected the heavy international schedule which included a drainingly euphoric display from four of his players in Paris the week before, but it surely played a part.

There has been criticism of the decision to rest skipper Barry Ferguson, but the club have assembled a bigger squad so it can rotate players - as rivals Celtic successfully did at St Mirren recently.

There was a lot of talk over the weekend about the league being the priority with the Champions League only a lucrative dist ra ction that Rangers are not going to win.

That may be true but nothing will blow away the gathering doubts better than a positive per for mance against the Bundesliga champions this evening.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 19, 2007
Words:217
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