ANORTHOSIS Famagusta were left reeling yesterday when Georgi Kinkladze, their most experienced European performer, pulled out of tonight's Champions League qualifier to negotiate a move to Russia.

The Georgian, who built his reputation at Dinamo Tblisi, Manchester City and Derby County, refused to travel with the team on their charter flight yesterday morning, and instead entered into negotiations with Rubin Kazan, the Russian club who have lured him nearer home with a two-and-a-halfyear deal.

Temuri Ketsbaia, the playermanagerwho was instrumental in luring his 31-year-old countryman to the Cypriot league, did not disguise his contempt with his former international team-mate ruining his plans of overturning a 2-1 deficit.

To make matters worse, Andreas Pantelis, the Anorthosis chairman, revealed Kazan had yet to make a firm bid for the player. "I am not interested in having players in the squad who have no wish to play for Anorthosis, " said Ketsbaia.

"For me, the Kinkladze chapter is now closed."

None the less, Ketsbaia remains hopeful that Anorthosis's attacking style can cause Rangers problems at Ibrox, even after their preparatory 3-1 victory against Celtic on Saturday afternoon.

The Cypriots are desperate to reach the group stages, with the millions on offer for qualification vital to Pantelis's survival plan amid deep financial trouble.

Ketsbaia reiterated his observation that Rangers are similar in standard to Trabzonspor, the Turks vanquished by Anorthosis in an earlier round, and refuted claims that his inexperienced squad will be intimidated into submission at Ibrox.

"We are not scared of this game because we have nothing to lose and everything to gain, " he said. "I don't think Rangers are that much better than Trabzonspor, so obviously we believe that we can get a result here. We are not in Glasgow on holiday, we are here to do a job.

We are ready and we will give it a good go to achieve a dream of getting into the Champions League group stages."

Antonis Georgallides, the Greek goalkeeper, shares his manager's optimism. "Obviously, we have a very hard task ahead of us in Scotland, but that doesn't mean that we will fold.

"We have some strong players in the side that are capable of doing damage to Rangers, and we have earned the respect of many European sides this year."

Nacho Novo set Rangers on course for an away win in Cyprus. The Spaniard supplemented his season's output with a late penalty conversion against Celtic, but having returned to full fitness, the bargain buy from Dundee is eager to prove himself worthy of a place in exalted company.

"It will not be easy. There will be a long 90 minutes ahead and it is not finished yet.

Remember, people thought CSKA Moscow and AZ Alkmaar would be easy, " he said of last season's European games in the UEFA Cup.

"The Champions League is where everybody wants to play.

It is where Rangers should be every season and it is why I worked so hard in the summer to get overmy injury."

Novo turned down rest and relaxation in favour of a summer spent pounding the sandy beaches of Coruna with his sister, Aranxa, as part of his rehabilitation from a hernia.

An international-standard basketball player, his sibling will undergo a clean-up operation on a cruciate ligament injury as her brother prepares for a match with Champions League status and a [GBP]10m windfall at stake. "I have worked really hard for this, "he said. "I ran with my sister all summer. It was scary getting the operation because it is the first one I have had in my career."

His match sharpness and confidence restored, Novo nevertheless expects Anorthosis to present a stiff challenge tonight, even although he does not expect the Cypriots to stand up to the slightest resistance.

"They were diving about in the first game and we have to be mindful and professional, " he said. "This kind of thing happens in Europe, even in Spain, it is just a different mentality to British football and we have to adapt."

Rangers v Anorthosis F'gusta Today, 7.45pm, Ibrox. TV: BBC1

Herald prediction Rangers 4 Anorthosis F'gusta 0

Probable line-ups

Waterreus Ball Rodriguez Andrews Pierre-Fanfan Murray Ferguson Ricksen Prso Buffel Novo Subs Klos, Malcolm, Burke, Rae Lovenkrands, Thompson, McCormack

Update Barry Ferguson, the Rangers captain, is likely to shrug off an ankle injury sustained against Celtic on Saturday to lead his side's qualification hopes.

Defender Jose-Karl Pierre-Fanfan is the only other doubt with a slight hamstring injury, but he is also expected to play.

Tsitaishvili Ketsbaia Frousos Happer Maragos Nikolaou Poursaitides Katsavakis Xenides Haxhi Georgallides Subs Kokkinos, Kampantais, Markou, Konstantinou, Samaras, Parmakis, Louka

Update Temuri Ketsbaia's side will have to overturn the 2-1 deficit from the first leg without the suspended Albanian international Altin Hadji. Georgi Kinkladze will also be unavailable after refusing to travel, but Marko Happer and Nicos Katsavakis, who missed the first leg, are available.