Strangely Optimistic - Rangers v Porto Champions League preview

Last updated : 12 September 2005 By Harry Potter

I know at this precise moment its hard to be optimistic going into
tomorrow’s game against Porto in the our opening game of the Champions
League following the recent shambolic performances against Hibs and
Falkirk but looking at the euro draw we received should be a tonic to

I really think with a bit of luck and a reversal of the manager’s
excuse for tactics to something that actually suits our team that we
could, just, whisper it, sneak 2nd in the Group.

I know how strange that seems, how can you expect Rangers to progress
from the Group Stages when we can’t beat a newly promoted team who have
only 3 stands and one of those is a temporary ramshackle affair?

The answer is simple, we’ve got one hell of a good draw, the two seeded
teams above us are far from the most difficult opposition that we
could’ve been allocated, while the fourth team in the group don’t
suddenly become quality opposition merely because they humiliated and
subsequently eliminated Celtic from European competition for this
season, don’t forget they got beat 4-0 at the piggery, even Aberdeen
didn’t concede that many to their friends in the east end.

I’d predicted we’d get Inter Milan from the off and the situation
regarding the San Siro being closed for the group games nullifies their
home advantage and makes all their games in an empty stadium something
of a unknown quantity.

As regards Porto, little remains of the UEFA Cup winning team and with
a new coach, who by all reports is already under some pressure, we
shouldn’t just raise the white flag merely because they are ranked
above us and are a ‘name’ in European football terms.

The more I think about it the more optimistic I get when I consider our
chances, the Falkirk shambles further feeds my enthusiasm for, what
many will howl with laughter, our marching on past Christmas still
being in the Champions League.

Look at it, two bad results domestically, should leave the player
knowing (and perhaps they had this in their heads v. Falkirk that the
Porto game was The Game?) that this is the big test, that everything
must be put into the Porto game and that recent form just won’t do.

As for Mcleish, my views on him are well known but even he should be
clued up enough to realise that our formation v. Hibs and Falkirk isn’t
acceptable and that he has to change it. If we’d sneaked two wins what
are the odds he’d have stuck with the current ill thought out scheme
for the Porto match and for the next few games?

Usually when a few games have gone against Rangers in the last twenty
years or so, the team and manager have had enough about them to rectify
matters and pull out a performance when it has been required. Let’s
all hope that the Porto game sees just such a performance.

We Are Rangers

Harry Potter