Rangers need to improve on the domestic front, says Andy Halliday

Rangers' Andy Halliday. Pic: SNS/Paul Devlin
Rangers' Andy Halliday. Pic: SNS/Paul Devlin
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Andy Halliday says it is time Rangers started rebuilding their standing as a dominant domestic force after seeing Steven Gerrard’s side restore the club’s European reputation.

The Light Blues’ Europa League adventure came to an end on Thursday as they failed to get the victory over Rapid Vienna which would have taken them to the last 32.

However, Halliday insists his team should be proud of what they achieved after leading the club to their first group-stage appearance for eight years.

Rangers were beaten just twice during their 14-game run - both times by a single goal - and Halliday was more than satisfied with that record.

“I’m very proud of the boys’ efforts throughout the campaign,” said the midfielder.

“At the start of the season the main objective was to get to the groups but once we got there, we were seen as the underdogs.

“At that point, had you given us the position of being 90 minutes away from qualifying out of the group we’d have taken it but we’re obviously disappointed that we have fallen at the last hurdle.

“I’d like to think we’ve started the job of repairing the club’s standing in Europe with how we’ve performed.

“I think we’ve shown we belong at this level. We’ve not been steam-rolled in any game. In every match we were competitive and deserved to win a few more.

“That’s why we managed to pick up six points but it’s just disappointing we didn’t get a couple more to see us through.”

Gerrard was left to lament missed opportunities against Spartak Moscow. In the Russian capital Rangers saw a goal wrongly disallowed while leading 3-2, before defensive lapses eventually saw them slump to defeat.

Rangers dominated the big-spending Muscovites in the return but were unable to get the vital breakthrough and Halliday said: “Looking back on the campaign, it was positive over the majority of it.

“We showed we can play at this level but ultimately we didn’t have enough to take ourselves through to the knockout stages and that’s disappointing.

“We can look back at a few moments where we let it slip away from us. Spartak at home was an opportunity to put a bit of a cushion between us and the teams below.

“And Thursday night too. We knew if we’d got the win we would progress to the next stage but we couldn’t do it.”

Dejan Ljubicic’s late winner handed Rapid victory in Vienna as the Austrians followed Villarreal through to the knockout stages.

With only domestic matters to focus on, Gers will now look ahead to Sunday’s Ibrox showdown with Hamilton and Halliday knows his side cannot afford another slip-up.

Gerrard’s side grabbed the initiative in the title race by beating Hearts at Tynecastle but since then have dropped five points after stumbling against Aberdeen and Dundee, allowing Celtic to nip ahead once more.

“The simple fact is we need to improve domestically,” Halliday stressed. “It was all rosy after beating Hearts to go top of the league but the last two results have obviously set us back.

“We need to learn from that and learn quickly. We must improve if we want to get to the top of the table.”