( AFP ) - Rangers were unable to secure an advantage in the first leg of their UEFA Cup quarter-final at home to Sporting Lisbon on Thursday with the Portuguese side securing a deserved 0-0 draw.
The result hands Sporting the advantage for the second leg, which will take place at the Jose Alvalade Stadium next Thursday.
Rangers, who were playing in their first ever UEFA Cup quarter final, will be further disadvantaged after their veteran central defender David Weir picked up a second yellow card in the competition, meaning he will be suspended for the trip to Portugal.
Rangers manager Walter Smith admitted his side did not deserve to win.
He said: "Sporting started the game better than we did and were on top for the first 15 minutes. For the next hour there was not much between the teams but in the last 15 minutes we made some unforced errors which gave us some anxious moments.
"Overall we cannot argue with the result and there were not many clear cut opportunities for either team.
"It was disappointing as we didn't play as well as in other European games so that's a bit frustrating but we can no complaints with the result."
Sporting Lisbon's coach Paulo Bento was not completely satisfied with a draw and believes his side will have to play better in the second leg.
He said: "Our objective is always to win games so we have not achieved what we wanted.
"Rangers played very well defensively but we had most of the ball and did not take advantage. The reality is we still need to score in Portugal and hopefully we will play better in the final third."
Rangers had the first effort on goal with a 30-yard shot from Lee McCulloch which was well wide of the target in the seventh minute.
In what was a familiar pattern for Rangers supporters watching their side in Europe this season, it was the visitors who were dictating play without stretching Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
The home side had a decent opportunity to open the scoring in the 18th minute.
French striker Jean-Claude Darcheville took advantage of Anderson Polga's slip to drive along the byline towards goal but, with Barry Ferguson and McCulloch waiting for his pass in the centre, he delayed too long allowing Sporting to clear.
It was not until the 38th minute that either goalkeeper was required to make a save.
Sporting's Montenegro forward Simon Vukcevic collected the ball on the left, glided past Kevin Thomson with some clever footwork and struck a left-foot shot which was comfortably saved by McGregor at his near post.
At the other end, Portuguese goalkeeper Rui Patricio was finally called into action in the 43rd minute.
There seemed to be little danger when McCulloch collected the ball 40 yards from goal but he turned and smashed a powerful shot towards the corner of the net until the Lisbon goalkeeper threw himself to his right to push away.
And in first half injury time McCulloch again came close when he got on the end of Steven Davis' deep cross to the back post but his header was deflected just wide.
Rangers had the first chance of the second half in the 53rd minute when captain Ferguson played a delightful chip into the path of Davis who controlled the ball before striking a right-foot shot just over from 20-yards.
A minute later Sporting came close to scoring an away goal. Argentinean Leandro Grimi carried the ball down the left before cutting inside and striking a right-foot shot towards goal which McGregor pushed round his post.
McGregor was again called into action in the 67th minute, diving low to his right to save Vukcevic's low shot from 16-yards.
In the 75th minute, Vukcevic got on the end of Miguel Veloso's corner to send a powerful header inches over McGregor's crossbar.
Rangers were now rarely threatening the Lisbon defence and in the 87th minute Sporting were almost gifted a goal.
Weir gave the ball away cheaply to Yannick Djalo who raced into the penalty box and passed to Brazilian Liedson but McGregor was quick off his line to block.
Weir picked up a yellow card in the 88th minute - his second of the competition - for a foul on the edge of the box.
From the resulting free-kick Veloso's shot took a deflection of the Rangers' defensive wall and was comfortably saved by McGregor in what was the last chance of the match.