Aluko proves he can handle Ibrox pressure

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Sone ALUKO insists he can handle the pressure of life at Rangers after bouncing back from criticism following his debut to inspire a 2-1 league win over Dunfermline.

The former Aberdeen winger was criticised when slow to react and inadvertently played Manuel Pascali onside for Kilmarnock’s winner last week. But he shrugged off the setback to produce an impressive performance at Ibrox with a man-of-the-match display that helped secure the three points on Saturday.

Reflecting on last week’s game at Rugby Park, he said: “At the time it was one of those moments where I thought ‘oh no’.

“I watch all my games back and I cringed watching it but that’s football and it’s not a problem for me. If you make those mistakes at any club you are going to get criticism. I’ve been in football long enough to know that I can deal with it.

“On my debut at Aberdeen I had a similar incident but you just have to get on with it and be strong mentally and start again.”

Aluko has been thrown straight into the action at Rangers despite being without a club since his Dons contract ended in the summer. “It was tough being out but I worked hard when I wasn’t playing. I wasn’t just sitting around. I’m gaining the rewards for that now.

“You can’t replicate playing in competitive football so the first few weeks have been tough, but it’s easier when you are playing for a team like Rangers who make it easier for you. I’m not far off being 100 per cent.”

Rangers opened the scoring thanks to an own goal by Alex Keddie, before Aluko won a penalty that was converted by Nikica Jelavic.

Dunfermline pulled a goal back through Joe Cardle but the champions held on for a much-needed win following a goalless draw against St Johnstone and the defeat at Kilmarnock in their last two outings.

Pars boss Jim McIntyre hit out at referee Steve Conroy afterwards for the penalty decision but Aluko insists he did not dive. He said: “When you are at full pace and the pitch is wet and you’re twisting and turning, with any contact it’s hard for you to stay on your feet.”