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El’s angel


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ONE man has taken so much flak since he first donned the Rangers jersey.

He has taken more abuse than I've ever seen heaped on ANY player at my old club.

Well, this morning I say to El Hadji Diouf: Take a bow, son.

Yes, I wrote in SunSport that his spitting shame would have earned him a battering from my old Nine-in-a-Row mates. I stand by that.

Last night, though? Last night I was in the midst of the Rangers support in Lisbon who saw the on-loan Blackburn Rovers star work his a*** off for the Ibrox side's cause.

I thought he was brilliant and led the line so well in his role as a solo striker.

I leapt for joy when he buried that header from Steven Davis' pinpoint cross and I was delighted for him. He earned his first goal for Gers.

Three years ago when Gers won through against Sporting Lisbon did anyone truly believe that Walter Smith would lead them all the way to the UEFA Cup Final in Manchester?

No way. Well, why shouldn't this team believe they can go all the way to the Europa League Final in Dublin?

My mates were texting me last night and saying McBookie have Gers at 33/1 to win the Europa League. Well, I might just take a piece of that.

Make no mistake this was a triumph fashioned by The Gaffer.

He had to drag a performance out of these boys after they had surrendered so tamely in that awful 3-0 Old Firm defeat.

Now I really feel this can kick-start Gers' season again.

As Marvin Andrews used to say: Believe!

After a poor season by his own lofty standards, this was also a great night for Davis to get back towards the levels he can reach.

It was a killer ball for Diouf's goal and I was gutted Gers then fell behind to a team I believe were poorer than them over the two legs.

The ending, though, was fairytale stuff and it was terrific to see dyed-in-the-wool Gers fan David Healy as the architect of it.

When his low cross came fizzing over I was just praying for one of the Gers players queueing up to bundle it home.

Maurice Edu did and I discovered what it was like for those punters who followed us through the Nine.


I nearly had a heart attack in the celebrations!

Now? Well, the SPL might be scratching their heads this morning - but Walter, Coisty and their players can hold theirs high.

The dramatic away goals win in Lisbon will mean a frantic few weeks for Rangers as fixtures are crammed in left, right and centre.

But Walter wouldn't have it any other way after another night to remember on the continent.

I must admit, for a while it looked like Rangers had blown their chance of going through to a last 16 clash with Dutch aces PSV.

But had they crashed out, they'd have wondered just how it had all happened.

Once more though they never gave up, never let their heads drop.

Gers' last visit here will forever be remembered for a quite brilliant individual goal from Steven Whittaker.

This time though they left as winners thanks to a TEAM performance to be proud of as each man did the job Walter asked of them.

At the back Davie Weir led by example after bravely rolling out of his sickbed to take his place and inspire those around him.

Until he was subbed with 20 minutes to go, he proved my point that his experience is still vital - and that he WASN'T past it after Sunday's Old Firm defeat.

Diouf might have his critics for what he's done in the past without a ball at his feet.

But last night he showed the reason Walter decided to take him to Ibrox on loan last month with that energy-sapping shift.

He set the tone for me. It would have been easier for Gers to crumble at 2-1.

After all, they have been written off and pilloried for such a woeful show at Celtic Park on Sunday.

I know from experience there's no hiding place at Rangers when the s*** hits the fan.

Believe me, those players will have been told by Walter that they let the club down against Celtic.

He will have gone over the video and SLAUGHTERED them. One by one.

Last night they started to repay a debt to the manager - now who knows where they can go from here?

I can't wait for the PSV tie now. As big Marv said: Believe!

Read more: http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/3432575/Els-angel.html#ixzz1EvQQoMn4

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