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Naismith admits Gers must improve against Sevilla

Steven Naismith believes Rangers must hit the heights of the second-half performance they gave against Stuttgart if they are to avoid defeat against Sevilla.

Rangers fought back well in the Mercedes-Benz Arena to draw 1-1 in their opening Champions League Group G fixture, as Madjid Bougherra burst forward to equalise.

However, their Premier League form has failed to hit the heights of that display as Walter Smith's side pick the bones from three consecutive goalless draws.

Failure to beat Motherwell, Kilmarnock and Aberdeen has not done much for Rangers' hopes of beating Sevilla, who sit in third place in Spain's top division following a 4-0 victory at Athletic Bilbao.

That impressive away win came despite Sevilla resting several key players including Brazil striker Luis Fabiano, who came off the bench to net his fifth goal in as many games. And forward Naismith knows Rangers will have to get out of their domestic rut for the Ibrox encounter.

"It's not a matter of 'can we improve?' - we need to,'' the 23-year-old said. "I think everyone in the squad needs to look at themselves. The last three (league) games haven't been good enough for Rangers, especially not scoring any goals. This game is a chance to turn it around.

"At a club like Rangers you can't feel sorry for ourselves, we need to up our game and show we can create chances.''

While confidence may have taken a blow from the goalless run, Naismith believes the performance in Germany offers encouragement.

"The second-half performance was definitely one of the best,'' the Scotland international said. "At the start we didn't have the belief and it maybe showed with the Stuttgart goal. But in the second half we showed we can stand up to this calibre of team and do ourselves proud.

"As we showed against Stuttgart, we are no mugs and won't be a walkover.''

Rangers will have Pedro Mendes back in midfield following suspension and Smith hopes to select Steven Davis alongside him after illness ruled him out against Aberdeen. Left-back Sasa Papac is another doubt with an ongoing hamstring injury but Steven Smith is expected to shake off a hip injury he picked up while deputising for the Bosnian.


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