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Rangers boss Smith fears significant title blow

"We can only hope from our own point of view the first 25 minutes is something we have got out our system now and we can revert to something like normal," said Smith.

"Only time will tell. Our hopes are to stay in a challenging position in the championship and that defeat obviously puts a question over that.

"We have aspirations to mount a better challenge in the championship than we have done in previous years. If we continue to defend in the manner we did do in the first 25 minutes, then we won't do so.

"It was disappointing but hopefully we will get over it."

Smith also defended his decision to name Barry Ferguson on the bench, following the skipper's exertions for Scotland in Paris midweek.

He said: "We have been leaving a lot of players out since the start of the season because we have a fair number of games.

"It's absolutely unfair to ask some, especially midfield players, to play in the amount of games they have. That was the situation we felt was best today and obviously we have to look at that as we go along.

"Barry, personally, will have a hell of a number of games to play between now and the end of December."

Smith added: "He didn't ask to be rested - it was my decision to put him on the bench today. If you're looking at the game, it wasn't exactly a midfielders' playground, was it?

"The ball went from back to front and he doesn't header the ball. If he did, maybe that would have been a part of it."

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Tribal Football Staff

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