Rightwing Film Geek

Off to UEFA Cup final

Yeah, yeah … it’s the Huns, playing Zenit St. Petersburg for the UEFA Cup in Manchester shortly (I’m out the door as I finish this).

I can’t bring myself to wear a Rangers shirt to the broadcast of the game (reading this last night can really pound in the ambivalence I’ll always feel). But your country’s clubs are one team in Europe; I have a Protestant father and two Protestant grandparents; and this is one of the biggest games ever played by a Scottish club. I have played over and over this clip, of Rangers’ penalty shootout victory in the semi-finals over Fiorentina …

… and I get goose bumps every time, as the commentator yells “Manchester brace yourself; Rangers are coming. Scotland will have its big night as well. The Scots are heading for Manchester and you know what, Manchester may not be big enough.”

The thing is though, that the Huns have won their way through to the final playing anti-football. I well understand that when it’s your team and your country, only results matter, and I’ll be cheering my head off if they win (good for the coefficient and all). But Rangers are not an attractive team to watch, in Europe anyway. I think they’ll manage it though — Zenit are the kind of attack-first team Rangers are built to frustrate and defeat (though a team that can beat Bayern Munich 4-0 and Bayer Leverkusen 4-1 away needn’t fear anybody).

But history is on the Huns’ side. The other time Rangers won a European trophy (the 1972 Cup Winners Cup), the final victory was over a Russian team. And the victories in the three previous rounds were over teams from Portugal, Italy and Germany (Sporting Lisbon, Torino and Bayern then; Werder Bremen, Sporting and Fiorentina, in order, now).

As long as nobody at the bar sings “The Billy Boys” song, and the victorious Rangers fans don;t get their team banned from Europe as happened last time.

May 14, 2008 - Posted by | Soccer

3 Comments »

  1. ha. ha.

    Comment by A proud Russian | May 17, 2008 | Reply

  2. You should be proud, Zenit won because on that day (and would be on most days, I suspect) they were the better team. There was no fluke, no bad calls or anything. Zenit made the game and had much more offensive flair.

    When Zenit scored the first goal, all the air went out of the sports bar I was at. It was obvious Rangers had no Plan-B, no way to come from behind. And they’d gotten so used to playing with one forward that those last 20 minutes were pathetic. The Gers actually got their very best chance right at the end of the game (the strike Novo hit over the bar), but that was the only one they got in 20 minutes of playing 4-3-3 against a team trying to protect a lead. (Or it was actually more than 6-1-3 for the little midfield possession they could generate in that period.) I was seriously holding my breath and rooting for Rangers, but they honestly never really looked like winners or potential winners.

    I was congratulating a scarf-wearing Zenit fan after the game (though he was actually a Lokomotive Moscow fan) and he said, correctly that “football won.”

    Comment by Victor Morton | May 17, 2008 | Reply

  3. Hey – you’ve left this as the top posting when your own boys have gone and won the Scottish Premiership since?

    Comment by Dan | June 8, 2008 | Reply


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