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UEFA Cup Semi-Final

Guest Andypendek

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Guest Andypendek


(btw, remnany kings is a glasgow textile store selling....well, remanants)

The predictable aftermath of Rangers amazing run to the UEFA cup final has began, as boring as it is inaccurate. Negative tactics, a team that has forsworn football, undeserved, a disagrce to scottish football. All the usual suspects have been lining up in an attempt to denigrate this quite astonishing achievement. However,to put Rangers achievement last night into the proper perspective, you have to consider the tools Walter Smith and Ally McCoist have been using, and against whom they have been pitted. It is essential to see this European adventure for what it is, rather than what you might wish it to be.

Penalty shoot out hero (again) Neil Alexander. In a career running from Stranraer to Cardiff City by way of the international bench, no-one would have thought they would see him in this position. Perhaps calling him the archetypal journeyman pro is harsh but that would certainly have been how he was regarded until very recently. Kirk Broadfoot, a versatile and wholehearted but essentially limited defender, whose only previous experience has been second tier and then a relegation battle with little known St. Mirren. Sasa Papac, a Bosnian international. David Weir, an over the hill workhorse who was seen as a short term fix over a year ago. Brahim Hemdani, Steven Davis. Good professionals but without a queue of admirers waiting to relieve Rangers of their services. Jean-Claude Darcheville and Daniel Cousin, also-rans in Le Championnat and, one can say with some certainty, some way behind Adrian Mutu and even Christian Vieri in the European strikers league. Nacho Novo, whose tireless enthusiasm makes up for, again, limited ability, and whose resumee includes Raith Rovers and Dundee.

Against this collection of triers Rangers have come up against Werder Bremen, Panathanikos, Sporting Lisbon and now Fiorentina. Some of Champions League standard, international players from Europe's elite nations in all. Were Rangers to try to match them blow for blow, the result would have been the inevitable skewering in an earlier round and the cry of...you've guessed it, Rangers let down Scotland again.

Instead, these redoubtable bravehearts have rolled up their sleeves and given of their all. We'd all like to see swashbuckling football, and i would imagine all Europe outside Rangers fans will be hoping for a Zenit win. That, however, is not the point. When a team has used all it's abilities, footballing, physical and tactical, to overachieve to this extent it is churlish and indeed petty to quibble about how it is done.

So on to Manchester then, for Walter Smith and his ragtag and bobble tail army. Can the artisans draw from their well one more effort, one last hurrah to lift the UEFA Cup? One thing is for sure - it won't be for the lack of trying.

a response to the usual whining from timmy

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