Rangers will not take insult lightly

by Ryan Duggins

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

My romantic eyes for a competition I have been championing amongst the nay-sayers have been slightly blinded, and it’s all Fergie’s fault.

The UEFA Champions league has had desperately bad criticism over the last couple of seasons, and although its critics have several contrasting opinions about the tournament, I have always seen it as an ultimate showcase of European football. It may not be the most thrilling, but unlike a lot of critics, I thrive on seeing the domestic champions of one of the so called ‘lesser’ nations take on Barcelona and Chelsea in an attempt to create an new page in their own history, as well as tarnishing the history of the bigger guns. But my current complaint is very specific.

Manchester United have announced this morning that they will be leaving Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand at home when they travel to Glasgow on Wednesday, and they will also be starting Wayne Rooney for the game. In usual circumstances, when this happens, an excuse of priority can take hand from United, as they claim that they have bigger games ahead, or a busy schedule. Manchester United currently sit top of Group C, but they are far from safe.

Rangers, aside from their completely un-inventive trip to Old Trafford first time round, have been very decent indeed in the Champions League this season, and have done very well to still be in contention for progression to the next round. As they sit down today and discuss a game plan to steal 3 points, the news of the United shake-up will only tantalise the Rangers squad, and although they may fall flat on their face, you can be sure Rangers will be up for this one, with the Ibrox faithful booming their bellowing banter to the pitch, in support of a scalp.

The one thing that has surprised me about this is that Valencia are, more or less, guaranteed to end up Wednesday night on 11 points, which would put them top of Group C if United trip up in Scotland. Then, they travel to United for what could be a huge decider, whether it be in terms of who finishes top, or who finishes their Champions League experience. And who will rangers be facing as an Old Trafford squabble takes place…Bursaspor.

I just don’t see why United don’t go to Rangers with the solidity that would ensure a point. If Rooney will under-perform, like I think he will, and the back line is suspect, then Rangers will be in this one. Rangers will have taken from the first game that United won’t really put too many in the box, so if they can block them out like they are capable of doing, it will take more than a lucky Gibson long ranger to get United out of trouble.

It seems that this endless cycle of teams more concerned about qualifying for the next year, rather than enjoy the current, won’t change any soon.

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