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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 8 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
May 22, 2008

Failure will be our fault, insists Gers boss Smith

Manager Walter Smith admits Rangers will only have themselves to blame if Celtic pip them to the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title tonight.

The destination of the trophy had been in the Ibrox club's hands for most of the latter part of the campaign.

But a draw at Motherwell on Saturday finally swung the balance of power in Celtic's favour.

Both teams head into the final night of the season locked on points at the top of the SPL but Celtic's superior goal difference means a win at Dundee United will almost certainly be enough to allow them to retain their crown regardless of Rangers' own result at Aberdeen.

'Having got this far we'd love to see it through,' said Smith. 'In that sense it would be a huge disappointment of we didn't win the league.

'We had an advantage going into the last three games and we lost that. We can only blame ourselves if it doesn't happen. I've said to my players disappointment in football is the only thing that's guaranteed.

'We've got to handle that if it comes. But we're not looking at that stage yet, we have to go into the game in a positive frame of mind. We'll go to Pittodrie looking to win the game.'

Celtic are four goals better off - meaning Rangers would have to embark on an unlikely goal-spree at Pittodrie to snatch the championship on goal difference.

However, Smith believes such talk is unfair on both Aberdeen and United.

'We need to score but I think it's disrespectful to talk about goal difference,' he said. 'It's disrespectful to the teams we are playing. What I do find ironic is that we are seen as a defensive team yet we've scored more goals than any team in the league.

'It's actually Celtic's defensive record that's got them this advantage.'

When questioned after Monday's 3-0 win over St Mirren, Jean-Claude Darcheville claimed Rangers were capable of scoring up to six goals against Aberdeen - but also admitted the Dons were just as capable of restricting their visitors.

However, his comments have angered some members of the Pittodrie camp in the build-up to the crunch match.

Smith defended the Gers striker, saying: 'Jean-Claude was asked if we could score six goals in Aberdeen and he said yes. He also said we might only score one but that part wasn't used in the papers in the north east. They used the first part just to crank things up.

'Listen, I know how hard it's going to be so we'll just look to win the game and then take it from there.'

Smith was famous for the run of nine titles in a row during his first spell at the Ibrox helm and is no stranger to success.

But he admitted: 'If we were to win this league then it would certainly rank up there among the best for me. In the titles I've won here before we were always the team in the ascendancy. This was far more difficult because Celtic had the mantle that I had when I was manager first time around.

'If we were to win then I would never say it was the best because each championship is special. But it would be very pleasing, that's for sure.'

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