Who the (Beep) are Man. United?

Last updated : 14 September 2010 By FF.com

Let's not beat about the bush - or even pause to throw some arrows at Darren Fletcher.

Manchester United are, at present, among the best five or six club sides in Europe.

They have a manager whose record entitles him to be held amongst the greatest ever to led a British club side.

Their resources and playing staff are far in advance of anything we can muster at the moment.

In Wayne Rooney, and the ever-red Paul Scholes, they have the type of player we've long since stopped admiring in our own eleven.

Tonight's Champions League game has a very scary look to it, truth be told.

So why, may you ask, are we bothering to turn up? Why not forego the pleasure of our fans being treated like criminals, forget the idea of our mediocre players trying to compete, and just hand over the three points?

The last time we went to Old Trafford, via Wigan, it was all a little lame. We were comprehensively outplayed, and to the ends of time will continue the discussion over whether Sir Alex of Govan took the foot off the proverbial pedal at 3-0.

You may, however, recall that the side did rather better at Ibrox, and the 0-1 reversal was a little harsh.

Football, you see, is still a (largely) competitive game. For all the allocation and redistribution of resources is partly responsible for potential mismatches and pumpings galore, we still go to the trouble of playing the matches.  We've not yet decided to put the facts, figures and formalities into a machine and allowed simulation to become more popular within the game than it presently is on the pitch.

Keep it to yourself, but Rangers might beat Manchester United at Old Trafford tonight. The bookies and exchange punters don't think so - you can get in advance of 20-1 with some - but that merely indicates the willingness of people to place their money and - with the bookies at least - some measure of probability.

In order to come back to Scotland with a good result, a large number of factors will have to work in our favour.

1. We have to be well-organised.

2. We have to be lucky.

3. Our game-plan must disrupt the opposition.

4. We must take any real chances we create.

For all that Manchester United have shown signs of defensive weakness in the EPL, they have been in away games, against sides willing to expend every last bit of energy and commitment to snatch a point. Their home record is, as almost always, as formidable as ever. If asked: are Rangers better than Everton or Fulham, those answering in the negative may be in the majority.

Our side in 2010 is, to my eyes, better than the team sent out under Alex McLeish in 2003. Our manager is, with all due respect to the present Birmingham boss, also an upgrade and someone who has managed to work out some decent away performances in recent European campaigns.

A good result today might top all of that. To lose to a better opponent has never and will never be a cause for sporting embarrassment. So long as the Rangers side selected performs to the best of its collective ability then we can ask for no more. If it does so, we can hope for the best and expect to learn a lot about both our talents and our character.