Football

Smith plays down title talk

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Walter Smith watched his side draw first blood in this season's Old Firm title battle at Celtic Park on Sunday then dampened down talk of winning three-in-a-row.

The Clydesdale Bank Premier League champions fell behind to a Gary Hooper goal in first-half injury time. However, the Light Blues' fightback started three minutes after the break when Glenn Loovens scored an own goal before Kenny Miller volleyed the visitors ahead and then netted a controversial penalty to seal the win.

Rangers boss Smith said: "It was a good afternoon and a good win but we are very early in the season to be talking about championships. There are a lot of games yet to be played but we are delighted at the position we are in."

He added: "I don't think I can remember starting with nine wins in a row as a manager, even in my previous spell here.

"It is a nice way to start the season but we know that there are a lot of problems which lie in front of us.

"There are other Champions League games to play and it's always difficult to come back from that and I felt the game against Valencia in midweek had a little bit of an effect on us."

Smith, however, was well aware of the significance of inflicting Celtic's first SPL defeat of the season in the east end of Glasgow.

"In Old Firm games you always want to make home advantage count," he said. "The percentages of wins is far greater in favour of the home team than the away team and so to go away from home and win the game is really good.

"Celtic Park is always the toughest test for anyone (in Scotland), it is a very difficult place to go and get a win.

"And Celtic have a new team so we weren't sure what to expect so all-in-all, I am pleased by the way my own team handled it."

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Topics:
European News
Football
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Glenn Loovens
Gary Hooper
Kenny Miller

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