McCulloch back in contention

Midfielder confident of making European final

McCulloch: Hopeful

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Lee McCulloch is confident of being fit for Rangers' Uefa Cup final against Zenit St Petersburg after coming through another training session.

The midfielder looked set to miss the run-in to the season after being caught by a late Paul Hartley tackle in Rangers' clash with Celtic on 16th April.

It was suspected that McCulloch had suffered a broken foot but he is now back in training and in contention for this week's Scottish Premier League match against Dundee United.

That would put him back in the frame for the club's first European final for 36 years when Rangers face Zenit in Manchester.

McCulloch said: "I've trained again today so I feel all right and I think I will be fit for it, but it's up to the manager who is going to play.

"Two weeks ago I thought my season was over, so it's good to have a bit of hope.

"To get a run-out on Saturday would be brilliant. I was told my foot was broken, then a couple of days later when the swelling went down I had a scan and found it was only bone bruising."

Smith wary

Zenit have been something of a surprise package in Europe this season but they proved their credentials with a thumping 4-0 victory over Bayern Munich in the second leg of their Uefa Cup semi-final.

And Rangers manager Walter Smith believes the Russians will pose as many problems as any side they have faced in Europe this season - including Barcelona and Lyon.

"When you look back over their campaign, you will see that Zenit have beaten some notable teams," noted Smith.

"In all probability the result against Bayern Munich was one of the results of the European season.

"To get a 1-1 draw in Munich and then win 4-0 at home against a strong side show their quality.

"If we take our European season, both in the Champions League and the Uefa

Cup, we have played against teams of good quality.

"Barcelona, Lyon, Stuttgart and Werder Bremen were excellent.

"I would expect Zenit to be of the same standard as the teams we have played in that competition."