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We Wait With Baited Breath

THE Champions League group phase draw is something which always generates a huge level of interest, not just at the clubs involved but all around the world.

And as we look forward to playing in that stage of the competition for the 11th time this season, it's with great anticipation that we await news tonight of who we will face.

The likes of Manchester United, Barcelona, Arsenal, Bayern Munich and reigning champions Inter Milan all lie in wait for us as possible opponents.

But when you've teams such as Real Madrid and Chelsea in the pots too, it's hard for me to look beyond them as sides I'd love to take on.

As a boy, I was fortunate enough to see the Spaniards beat Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 at Hampden Park in the final of the European Cup in 1960.

I was also at Ibrox a few years later to see them playing Rangers in the same competition and they were a team to behold at that time.

This is my last season as a manager and for purely selfish reasons, it would be fantastic to get the chance to play Real competitively as I hold them in really high esteem.

In all the years I've been in football, I've never been to the Bernabeu. I've always wanted to go and I will one day, but it would be great if it was in an official capacity this season.

For me, they're the club the Champions League is all about. They're a glamorous team with a fantastic manager and some fantastic players.

If we don't get them and we end up with other opponents, my only wish is that we go into the campaign giving ourselves our best chance possible of reaching the last 16.

While our away form wasn't bad in Europe last year, we didn't live up to expectations and we are determined to rectify that this time around.

Whoever we face, we know it will be tough - but as we wait for events to unfold in Monaco at 6pm that is something we are prepared and ready for.

Walter Smith


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