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By ESPN Staff

Velicka rues career nadir as Rangers crash

Andrius Velicka branded Rangers' defeat by his former club FBK Kaunas as the worst night of his career - and insisted he had to shoulder some of the blame for their dramatic exit from Europe last night.

Walter Smith's men were expected to progress to a Champions League third-round qualifier - likely to be against Danish side Aalborg - despite a goalless first leg at Ibrox last week.

Kevin Thomson opened the scoring in the first half in Lithuania, before Nerijus Radzius levelled for the hosts.

Just when Rangers thought they were set to go through on the away goals rule, they were hit with a sucker punch when Linas Pilibaitis snatched the winner with only three minutes to go.

Velicka had earlier come off the bench and squandered a great opportunity to kill the tie off when the game was all square at 1-1, and he admitted afterwards: 'I cannot sum up how I feel.

'Maybe it was my fault because of the chance I had, you have to score those chances. I cannot think of a worse night - it's a catastrophe.'

Some fans will vent their anger at boss Walter Smith but Nacho Novo insists the players must hold their hands up and admit they simply were not good enough.

He said: 'It's disappointing and the players feel very bad right now. We've not done enough and if there's a problem, it's with the players.

'It's easy to blame the manager or other things but the players need to do a little more.

'It's definitely the worst night of my career and it's so disappointing.

'We need to do more and we need to change everything and try to go for the win. You need a goal to win games.'

Rangers participated in a staggering 19 continental outings last season, but must now deal with the disappointment of no further European action this season.

Novo added: 'We played so many games last year, around 65, it's just four weeks or so break. There have been a lot of games.

'We need to win everything now. We definitely need to go for it and everything starts on Saturday and we just need to put in a better performance than this.'


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