Date: 19th March 2007 at 12:01pm
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Aberdeen`s involvement in Europe next season will more than likely be in the UEFA Cup in the opinion of Dons manager Jimmy Calderwood. Saturday`s Ibrox mauling has left him resigned to the fact that the seven point gap will be too much for his team to overhaul.

Calderwood said: ‘It will now be very difficult for us to overtake Rangers and move into second place. With the way we played and the result they got, we gave them a massive lift and you could see how much confidence they had by the end of the game.

‘We still have seven games to go and it is important we don’t let losing at Ibrox get to us. The only bonus from the weekend for us is the result at Tynecastle, which means the gap between us and Hearts is the same.

‘We have to make sure we don’t give another performance like the one we gave against Rangers and get into Europe ourselves.’

Rangers manager Walter Smith is not as certain that his team are certainties to qualify for the illustrious Champions League yet as he knows his side are not as good as Saturday`s result over the 3rd placed team in the league would suggest.

Smith said: ‘I feel we might need our seven-point cushion. If we are going to play all the other sides in the top six, I imagine there will be situations when we will drop points. That is always likely to happen”.

Rangers used the comments made prior to the match by Michael Hart to their advantage but Hart and the Aberdeen squad insist that these were taken out of context and refused to comment on the subject after the match.

Jimmy Calderwood hopes his right back will learn from the mistake and go on having a very consistent season and he said “Everyone is entitled to opinions but they might as well keep them to themselves. It makes life a lot easier.’

Ranger`s defender Davie Weir admits that Hart`s derogatory comments did act as a spur and helped drive the Ibrox club to such a very decisive and significant victory.

The Scotland man said ‘It is not for me to go and say anything about the guy because he is entitled to say what he thinks. But the lads noticed what was said in the newspapers and it did motivate us more.

‘It has not helped Aberdeen much but I am sure Michael will learn from it. People don’t like to read things like that but performances are what count most.

‘You can speak all you want but you have to go out and do it on the pitch as well. What was said gave us a bit of extra satisfaction at the result.’