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Europa League round of 16 draw

Europa League

Trending: Man City edge Monaco in thriller

By ESPN Staff

Mendes: Points mean more than performances

Pedro Mendes admits points are more important than performances for Rangers, as they attempt to claw their way back into the Premier League title race.

The Ibrox side head into the weekend trailing Celtic by four points and knowing a win at Hearts is essential.

Kris Boyd and Jean-Claude Darcheville were both on target against Aberdeen last week but Mendes is well aware too many opportunities in front of goal are being squandered.

And the midfielder believes Rangers now need to adopt a more ruthless streak if they are to avoid dropping any more points as they attempt to wrest the championship from Celtic's grasp.

"We are in a situation now where the result is really important," said Mendes. "We are in second at the moment so the result is the main thing. But we know that if we don't play well, the chance of winning will be lower.

"So we need to keep performing as we did. We created a huge amount of chances to score. We need to be more clinical in front of goal and score more. Defensively, we have been fantastic, so we just need to keep it going."

Mendes has been impressed by the standard of the SPL since his summer switch from Portsmouth and is expecting another difficult test at Tynecastle.

He said: "It's another tough game, it's no different from going to Motherwell, Kilmarnock, the first half especially.

"The Scottish league is tough so on Saturday we need to be on top of our game. Saturday will be a good test for us."

Mendes was pleased to see fellow Portuguese midfielder Bruno Aguiar on the scoresheet for Hearts in last week's win over Falkirk but hopes he will not be so fortunate in front of goal this weekend.

He said: "I'm happy for him because he is a very good player and he has been unlucky with injuries. I'm happy he is back to his game and is doing well - but hopefully not so well on Saturday."

Hearts midfielder Laryea Kingston has angrily denied the row over his involvement with the Ghana national team was part of a plan to quit the club.

The 28 year-old, whose current deal runs until summer 2010, insists he would be happy to remain at Tynecastle for the rest of his career.

Kingston has come out fighting to defend his decision to make the 4,000 mile trip to his homeland for last week's friendly against Tunisia, even though he was injured with the thigh problem that has ruled him out since October 19 and could not play.

Hearts manager Csaba Laszlo was furious the right-sided midfielder made the journey to Accra.

But Kingston said: "All the speculation that I wanted to leave the club and that I was feigning injury is not true - that's not me. I don't want to leave this club; I like to play each and every game until the last minute.

"There is no truth in what people are saying. I have 18 months left on my contract and I want to work with this club until the end of my career.

"If the club comes and speaks to me and wants me to stay, I will have nothing against it. I am happy here, and my family is happy here; if we are both happy then why not stay?"

Kingston claimed last week that his family could be in danger from disgruntled Ghanaians if he did not make the journey home - and he insists there was little he could do but return to Accra.

He said: "I got an invitation for the last two games for Ghana. I told them I could not go to the first friendly against South Africa because I would not be back in time to face Hibs in October.

"The second time around, it would have created a problem for me if I did not go. If I called off for a second time, they might think I am being disloyal. Maybe the supporters might do something crazy."


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