Rangers Tango With Man United


Rangers of Scotland welcome the three times European champions, Mancheter United of England to Ibrox tonight for their Group C clash with both sides aiming to secure a place in the last 16.

The Gers have shown a marked improvement in their performances in Europe’s elite competition this season having collected five points from four games while the Old Trafford superstars need just a point to go through to the knockout phase.

However defeat to Valencia on matchday four means anything less than three points against the English giants means Rangers will be unlikely to qualify for the next stage.

Walter Smith’s side earned praise after their resolute defensive display at Old Trafford earned them a goalless draw in the opening group match.

Rangers’ Kenny Miller believes his side must beat Manchester United if they are to have any chance of qualifying for the knockout stage of the Champions League.

And while striker Miller knows it would be dangerous to throw caution to the wind against Sir Alex Ferguson’s side he insists his teammates must create more if they are going to claim a famous victory.

“Our formation and organisation were superb at Old Trafford. We’re going to need that again and more,” said Miller, whose hat-trick against Kilmarnock on Saturday took him to 18 for the season.

“Obviously, getting a point that night was great but we didn’t threaten their goal at all.

“This time, we’re going to need to create some chances and produce more of an attacking threat, especially at home. We’ll have to go for it.”

When the sides met in Manchester in September Ferguson surprisingly opted for the likes of Fabio Da Silva, Chris Smalling and Darron Gibson with superstars Dimitar Berbatov, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs getting to put their feet up on the bench.

However, with qualification in sight the former Rangers player is likely to bring back a fit-again Wayne Rooney for the match.

Miller added: “Whether United play a weakened team or not is immaterial. Whoever they play, their team will be packed full of fantastic players, so it will be tough no matter who plays.

“We have a small squad and, financially, we are punching above our weight in Europe this season.

“At the end of the day, the match represents a chance for us to win and go on to qualify from the group. That’s what it’s all about.”

Rangers have an extensive injury list for the crucial clash with Nikica Jelavic, James Beattie, Madjid Bougherra and Maurice Edu out while only Sasa Papac is likely to return.

United manager Ferguson is not the only Scottish connection at Old Trafford with the national side’s captain Darren Fletcher a regular in the Red Devils midfield.

Despite his Scottish roots Fletcher says he doesn’t expect a warm reception at Ibrox.

“I am really looking forward to the game,” Fletcher said.

“Rangers are a massive club and it will be a special night at Ibrox, with a fantastic atmosphere. I experienced it from the bench when we went there a few years ago.

“I am sure I will get plenty of stick from the home support but part of the challenge is playing in intimidating atmospheres.

“It’s what playing in Europe is all about. It’s something we all enjoy. But although we will enjoy it, we still have a job to do.

“We still need that point that is going to take us into the next round. We will produce a professional performance to try and win the match.”

United, who have won three games in the competition since their draw with Rangers, will have Giggs available again after his recent hamstring problem.

United midfielder Park Ji-sung is looking forward to a ‘special’ game against Rangers tonight. Park is aware of the significance of the match and anticipates an incredible atmosphere against the Scottish champions.

He has experience of fierce rivalries at international level, explaining: “We have a long history with Japan.

“When South Korea play against Japan the fans tell us that if we lose they are going to throw the players into the sea.

“Without doubt, they are the biggest thing for us.”

Park is aware of the cross-border tensions which surround English meetings with Scotland and insists the midweek encounter will be one to savour for foreign players as well as British protagonists.

“The atmosphere in the stadium is totally different,” he said. “You cannot compare it to a league game or others in the Champions League.

“It’s more aggressive on the pitch and the atmosphere in the stadium is really high. There is a lot more media attention as well.

“Nobody has to say anything, it is just a natural feeling that this is a different game.

“And it doesn’t only apply to the British players. It is equally special for the foreign ones as well.”

  Copyright protected by Digiprove © 2010 P.M.News

Load more