Andrius Velicka helped Rangers recover from their UEFA Champions League humiliation as his second half strike clinched a 1-0 win against Falkirk on Saturday.

After a dismal European exit against Lithuanian minnows Kaunas on Tuesday, it was fitting that it was Lithuania forward Velicka - a former Kaunas player - who ensured a miserable week for Rangers ended on a high note in their Scottish Premier League opener at Falkirk Stadium.

It may be too early to herald a Rangers revival however. Walter Smith's side were far from convincing again and had to ride their luck when Allan McGregor saved Michael Higdon's penalty early in the second half.

At least they seized that lifeline when Velicka tapped in just past the hour to mark his SPL debut for the Glasgow club in style.

"We were a bit casual in possession at times and didn't start the second half well," Smith told Setanta Sports. "But we got a little break when they missed the penalty. When it's 0-0 and someone saves a penalty it's always a turning point. We started to play a bit better after that and I felt a goal was deserved.

"It was just important to get off to a winning start after the problems in midweek. It's never easy coming here so in the context of the match it was a good result."

Line-up changes
Smith made three changes to the side beaten by Kaunas, with Kenny Miller, David Weir and Nacho Novo making way for Velicka, Kris Boyd and debutant Madjid Bougherra.

Rangers needed to impose themselves early on and Sasa Papac led the way as he drilled across the face of goal. Falkirk defender Darren Barr was lucky to avoid a red card when he brought down Boyd with a last-ditch tackle on the edge of the penalty area.

The home side briefly threatened when Higdon hooked over, then Gerard Aafjes smashed a long-range effort just over the bar. But Rangers finished the half on top. Kevin Thomson charged into the box and drove in a low shot that Robert Olejnik smothered well. Then Christian Dailly's shot was cleared off the line by John Stewart before Barr deflected Steven Whittaker's goalbound strike to safety.

Falkirk had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 50th minute when Whittaker gave away a penalty with a rash lunge on Kevin McBride. Higdon's spot-kick was heading towards the far corner but McGregor read his intentions and plunged to his left to produce a superb save.

That proved to be the turning point. Rangers stepped up a gear and broke the deadlock in the 64th minute. Boyd flicked onto Kyle Lafferty and the Northern Ireland striker drove a low ball across the six yard box to former Hearts forward Velicka, who tapped into the empty net.