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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As you can see I have way too much time on my hands :happy: This thread is intended for Champions League discussions concerning Rangers. It may seem a strange time to create a thread like this since we were dumped out nearly 5 months ago but there are still the best part of 12 other years to discuss.

I'm going to post some brief overviews of our seasons in the Champions League since it's begining in the 1992/93 season.

The UEFA Champions League

This competition was previously known as the European Cup up until the end of the 1991/92 season. The last European Cup was won at the now defunct Wembley 20 May 1992 in front of over 70,000 people by Johan Cruyff's Barcelona. A Ronald Koeman goal in the second period of of extra time was enough to give his side a 1-0 victory over Sampdoria.

Scottish Clubs hadn't done too badly since the competition started in 1955 and effectively ended in 1992. This cup was only open to Champions and only the winners of the top Scottish League from the previous season took part in the competition.

Rangers were the main representatives for the first decade of the competion but when Celtic appeared in the 60s they were to become a major force in European football over the next decade or so. In a 13 year period they reached 4 quarter finals, 2 semi finals and 2 finals. In the first of those finals they were to win the ultimate prize in the European trophy itself.

After the 70s Celtic's participation vanished in the top competition. Jim McLean's Dundee United and Alex Fergsuon's Aberdeen were the the big clubs in this era. Both had hard luck stories to tell. Jim McLean was the most unfortunate of the two after being knocked out of the semi-finals in a volatile match in Italy where the team and management were subjected to a large amount of hostility.

For the 1992/93 season the competion was restructured and given a new name. The new competion would be known from then on and to this day as the UEFA Champions League. It is the most prestigious competition in European club football.

Before the reports on Rangers' participation in the Champions League here is a lost of Scottish Clubs major achievements in the former competition, the European Cup.

Scottish European Cup Achievements

  • 1955-56 Hibs Semi (0 -3 AGG Stade de Reims)
  • 1959-60 Rangers Semi (4- 12 AGG Eintracht Frankfurt)
  • 1961-62 Rangers Quarter (3-4 AGG Stadard Liege)
  • 1962-63 Dundee Semi (2-5 AGG AC Milan)
  • 1964-65 Rangers Quarter (2-3 AGG Inter)
  • 1966-67 Celtic Winners (2-1 Inter)
  • 1968-69 Celtic Quarter (0-1 AGG AC Milan)
  • 1969-70 Celtic Final (1-2 AET Feyenoord)
  • 1970-71 Celtic Quarter (1-3 AGG Ajax)
  • 1971-72 Celtic Semi (4-5 penalties [0-0 AGG] Inter)
  • 1973-74 Celtic Semi (0-2 AGG Atletico Madrid)
  • 1975-76 Celtic Quarter (1-2 AGG BSG Sachsenring Zwickau)
  • 1979-80 Celtic Quarter (2-3 AGG Real Madrid)
  • 1983-84 Dundee United Semi (2-3 AGG AS Roma)
  • 1985-86 Aberdeen Quarter (2-2 AGG [Away goal ruling] IFK Goteborg)
  • 1987-88 Rangers Quarter (2-3 AGG Steaua Bucharest)
Scottish Champions League Overview

The Old Firm are the only teams ever to represent Scotland in the Champions League due to their dominance of the Scottish Premier League. Their progress is charted below.

Code:
[b]Year          [color=blue]Rangers[/color]           [color=green]Celtic[/color][/b]
______________________________________________
1992/93      [color=blue]Last 8[/color]             [i]failed to qualify[/i]
1993/94      [color=blue]Last 32[/color]            [i]failed to qualify[/i]
1994/95      [color=blue]Last 24[/color]            [i]failed to qualify[/i]
1995/96      [color=blue]Last 16[/color]            [i]failed to qualify[/i]
1996/97      [color=blue]Last 16[/color]            [i]failed to qualify[/i]
1997/98      [color=blue]Last 40[/color]            [i]failed to qualify[/i]
1998/99      [i]failed to qualify[/i]  [color=green]Last 40[/color]
1999/00      [color=blue]Last 32[/color]            [i]failed to qualify[/i]
2000/01      [color=blue]Last 32[/color]            [i]failed to qualify[/i]
2001/02      [color=blue]Last 48[/color]            [color=green]Last 32[/color]
2002/03      [i]failed to qualify[/i]  [color=green]Last 48[/color]
2003/04      [color=blue]Last 32[/color]            [color=green]Last 32[/color]
2004/05      [color=blue]Last 48[/color]            [color=green]Last 32[/color]
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
1992/93 season

This was the inaugral year of the competition and was only open to Champions from each European country. The format was as follows:

  • Preliminary Round - 8 Team Knock-Out
  • First Round- 32 Team Knock-Out
  • Second Round- 16 Team Knock-Out
  • Champions League- 2 Groups of 4 teams.
  • Final- Winner of Groups meet.
This was to be Rangers most successful Champions League year to date and no other Scottish side has even come close. It is very unlikely judging by today's SPL standards that it will be equalled or bettered for a long time to come.

Participation

Rangers went into the First Round of the competition as winners of the SPL. They has won the league by 9 points ahead of second place Hearts. It was their 4th league title in a row. They were now under the management of Walter Smith after Souness had left to go to Liverpool.

In the First Round of the competition they were joined by all the other winners throughout Europe including Italy, Spain and England.

First Round

Rangers were drawn with Danish Champions Lyngby. The first leg was played at Ibrox and Rangers ran out convincing 2-0 winners thanks to goals in either half. Mark Hately opened the scoring with Peter Huistra making the win secure.

It wasn't a great lead to take to Denmark but they did just as well away from home. With 5 minutes to go in the return leg the game was goalless. Ian Durrant then game Rangers the lead and what turned out to be a 1-0. Rangers went easily through to the second round.

Only one big side went out in this round and that was German Champions VfB Stuttgart. It was a bit of a strange one this. Stuttgart beat Leeds 3-0 at home and although they were beaten 4-1 in the return leg looked to be through on away goals. Stuttgart were found to have fielded an ineligible player however so UEFA changed the result to a 3-0 win for Leeds which made them level. They then ordered a play-off in Barcelona. Leeds won the match 2-1 and the English champions went through at the expense of the German Champions.

Second Round

The game dubbed the Battle of Britain was a massive match. There has not been a game like this since. The Scottish Champions were drawn against the English Champions.

The fist leg was at Ibrox and started terribly. In the first minute Leeds took the lead via Gary McAllister. Rangers applied the pressure after going behind and got an equaliser after 20 minutes which was credited to Leeds keeper Lukic. Before the half was over though Super Ally had Rangers in front. It was 2-1 to the Gers at half time and it ended 2-1 at full time.

It was widely expected that the English Champions would go still go through. They only needed to beat Rangers by more than a goal. That all went out the window though when Mark Hately scored from long range after 3 minutes, a shot that took everyone from surprise. Rangers took that 1-0 lead to half time and the English Champions now had one half to get the 3 goals that would take them through.

Quarter of an hour into the second half though it was all over after Ally McCoist scored with a header. Rangers were now in full control. Although Eric Cantona was to get a goal back for Leeds it was not enough. Rangers won both legs by a 2-1 margin winning 4-2 on aggregate overall.

One other big name fell in this round also. Barcelona who had won the former trophy the year perviously were knocked out by Russian champions CSKA Moscow 4-3 on aggregate.

The Champions of Spain, Germany and England were out of the next stage. Eight champions were left. Champions from Italy, France, Portugal, Holland, Russia, Scotland, Sweden and Belguim progressed through.

Group Stage

Rangers were drawn in Group A alongside Olympique Marseille, Club Brugge and CSKA Moscow. In Group B Milan, PSV Eindhoven, Porto and IFK Gotborg battled for a final place.

Rangers founght a good campaign. They would finish in second place a point behind eventual winners Marseille. Too many draws were their eventual downfall but it had still been better than anyone expected. They'd played 10 European ties and were unbeaten in all of them.

Rangers were to complain bitterly about suspected match fixing. CSKA Moscow had lost 5 goals in 5 goals but were beaten 6-0 by Marseille while managing to hold Rangers to a 0-0 draw at Ibrox. These events conspired to stop Rangers getting to the final. Marseille did go through though and in the final they beat Milan 1-0 to lift the trophy. The goal was scored by a future Rangers player Basil Boli.

In the same year, 1993, that ma won the Champions League they were stripped of the French League title after Bernard Tapie was investigated for match fixing. The club were relegated to the second division and Bernard Tapie was jailed. Their Championa League title however remained intact.

Results

First Round

Rangers 2-0 Lyngby
Lyngby 0-1 Rangers [0-3 Aggregate]

Second Round

Rangers 2-1 Leeds United
Leeds United 1-2 Rangers [2-4 Aggregate]

UEFA Champions' League Group A- Results

Rangers 2-2 Olympique Marseille
CSKA Moskva 0-1 Rangers
Club Brugge KV 1-1 Rangers
Rangers 2-1 Club Brugge KV
Olympique Marseille 1-1 Rangers
Rangers 0-0 CSKA Moskva

UEFA Champions' League Group A- Table

Code:
                           P  W  D  L  F  A Pts
OLYMPIQUE MARSEILLE        6  3  3  0 14  4  9
[color=blue]Rangers                    6  2  4  0  7  5  8[/color]
Club Brugge KV             6  2  1  3  5  8  5
CSKA Moskva                6  0  2  4  2 11  2
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
1993-94

Despite a long European run at the top level in the previous season Rangers had still been able to win the league title with ease by 9 points once again. It was their 5th league title in a row. Hearts hd not been the team to provide the challenge though this time, that fell to Aberdeen. Main rivals Celtic had once again finished in 3rd spot.

Participation

Rangers were hoping to continue where they had left off last time around. After 10 games the previous season they were unbeaten in the Champions League. Only Rangers and Olympique Marseille could claim such a record. All was looking good for another European run.

The format had changed slightly from the previous season. There were two main changes with a view to expanding the competition. The preliminary round was extended from 8 clubs to 20 clubs. The biggest change was from the group stage which would see two teams progressing rather than one team. This meant an additional round, semi-finals, before the final itself. If this had been added in the first year Rangers would have played Milan in the semi-final but it was not to be.

  • Preliminary Round - 20 Team Knock-Out
  • First Round- 32 Team Knock-Out
  • Second Round- 16 Team Knock-Out
  • Champions League- 2 Groups of 4 teams.
  • Semi-Final- Winner plays runner up of other group.
  • Final- Winner of Groups meet.
Although the holders were allowed to hold on to the Champions League title they were not given the chance to retain the cup after being stripped of their league title. AC Milan were the favourites to lift the cup and Rangers were not that far behind. Only one team did not disappoint and that was Milan who went on to lift the trophy after beating Barcelona 4-0 in the final.

First Round

Rangers were drawn to play the Bulgarian Champions. Levski Sofia stood between them and a place in the last 16. Rangers after their showing in the previous season were widely tipped to progress. This was their first appearance in the competition after CSKA Sofia had participated the previous season losing out in first round 5-4 on aggregate to Austria Vienna.

The first game was at Ibrox and was not as easy as Rangers expected it to be. The Gers were 1-0 up at half-time thanks to a goal by big Donkey McPherson. Ten minutes into the second half Rangers go the goal they needed to go 2-0 up thanks to Mark Hately. It was all looking good till the Bulgarians snatched a goal back 13 minutes from time. Shortly after though Hately had restored the 2 goal cushion with 10 minutes left to play. Rangers were leading 3-1 which was not too bad a result. Seven minutes from time though Todorov pulled another goal back for Levski Sofia. It was a big blow despite Rangers running out 3-2 winners.

The 3-2 lead was a fragile advantage to take to Bulgaria and promotion looked less certain now. Rangers were dealt a blow when Sirakov game Levski a 1-0 lead 10 minutes before half time. At this stage Levksi were going through on away goals. Right before half-time though Ian Durrant got Rangers level. At half-time Rangers held the advantage of a 4-3 aggreagate scoreline despite it being 1-1 on the night.

Rangers only needed to keep it that way for the remainder of the seconf half to go through and for the first 44 minutes they did. In the last mintue however the roof fell in as Todorov again got a late goal for Levski. It was enough to see his team through 2-1 on the night. With a 4-4 aggregate scoreline Rangers went out on the away goal ruling.

It was not what Rangers expected- a first round exit.

Results

First Round

Rangers 3-2 Levski Sofia
Levski Sofia 2-1 Rangers [Aggregate 4-4, Levski win on away goals]
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
1994-95

Participation

It has been said that Celtic needs a strong Rangers domestically if they are to compete in Europe and vice versa. That could go some way to explaining the Champions League slump in the previous season and the one that was to follow. Rangers had been crap in Europe but Celtic had been crap domestically.

Rangers had won the league easily in the 1993/94 season with virtually no challenge from Celtic. Their main challenge for the second season in a row came from Aberdeen. It still proved too easy though for Rangers to win their sixth Championship in a row.

Only 11 points had spilt the top 5 teams. Rangers had won the league by 3 points ahead of second place Aberdeen. Motherwell were in third place only 4 points behind the winners while rivals Celtic could only manage 4th place 8 points off the top. They only pipped fifth place Hibs by 3 points.

So for the third year of the Champions League it was Rangers who participated as winners of the Scottish League. Again though they had to qualify but this time around the format had changed drastically.

Format

The competition format changed dramatically to put the emphasis on "League". 24 teams took part with 16 teams fighting out a knockout round and the 8 winners joined by 8 teams that got Byes joining the group stage. After the group stage there would be a quarter, semi and final.

  • Preliminary Round - 16 Team Knock-Out
  • Champions League- 4 Groups of 4 teams.
  • Quarter-Final- 2 teams from each of 4 groups.
  • Semi-Final- 4 winners play.
  • Final- 2 winners meet.
The 8 teams to get a bye to the group stages were the league winners from Spain, England, Russia, Germany, Portugal, Belguim, Holland and Italy.

First Round

Last season had been bad but things were about to get alot worse. Rangers were drawn against Greek winners AEK Athens, it looked like a favourable tie. This was also their third year in the competition. In the first year they had disposed of Cypriot side Apoel on goal difference in the first round before being knocked out in the second round 3-1 on aggregate by PSV Eindhoven. They had at least beat the Dutch team at home 1-0. In the previous season like Rangers they were knocked out in the first round 2-1 on aggregate by AS Monaco.

The first leg took place in Greece and AEK ran over the top of Rangers. Saravakos had first scored seconds before half-time before getting his second late in the second half. AEK ran out 2-0 winners on the night and deserved their win.

Most people were of the opinion that although two goals down Rangers still ahd every chance of turning the tie around at Ibrox. It was thought that Greek teams while good at home did not travel well- wrong.

On a very frustrating night at Ibrox the team didn't get going. Just as AEK had done in the first game they scored just before half-time through Savevski. It was a shock and there was no way back. Rangers went in at half-time 1-0 down needing 4 goals to win the tie. On top of that they were not playing well anyway. They couldn't even manage one goal and AEK went through 3-0 on aggregate.

AEK went into a tough group which included holders Milan and Dutch giants Ajax. Not surprisingly they finished bottom of the group with only two points. To their credit one of the points was a home draw with Milan. Those two giants went on to contest the final with Ajax beating the holders 1-0 thanks to a Kluivert strike.

Results

First Round

AEK 2-0 Rangers
Rangers 0-1 AEK [Aggregate 0-3]
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
1995-96

Participation

Rangers were once again the Scottish representatives in the Champions League. In it's 4th season no other team in Scotland had that claim as Rangers went into the competition for the fourth time.

The seventh league title in a row, 94/95, had been one of the easiest to date for the Ibrox men. Celtic finished 18 points behind the Champions in 4th spot jsut 3 points ahead of Falkirk. Motherwell and Hibs put up the main challenge but even Motherwell in 2nd spot were 15 points adrift in the end.

Format

The format remained the same as the year before. 24 teams took part with 16 teams fighting out a knockout round and the 8 winners joined by 8 teams that got Byes joining the group stage. After the group stage there would be a quarter, semi and final.

  • Qualifying Round - 16 Team Knock-Out
  • Champions League- 4 Groups of 4 teams.
  • Quarter-Final- 2 teams from each of 4 groups.
  • Semi-Final- 4 winners play.
  • Final- 2 winners meet.
The 8 teams to get a bye to the group stages were the league winners from Spain, England, Russia, Germany, Portugal, Belguim, Holland and Italy.

Qualifying Round

Rangers were given a favourable draw and one they should really have had won easily to take them through to the last 24. They made hard work of their ties with Cypriot side Anorthosis of Ammóchostas though.

Rangers won the first leg at Ibrox through a single Gordon Durie goal midway through the second half. It made for a nervy return in Cyprus. Rangers managed a goalless draw which saw them through to the group stages for the second time.

Dinamo Kyiv had beaten Danish side AaB Aalborg 4-1 on aggregate in this round too and went into the group stages. They played one game in the group in which they beat Panathinaikos 1-0. There was then a bribary scandal.

Spanish referee Lopez Nieto alledged that two officials of Dinamo Kyiv offered him cash and two fur coats before the match against Panathinaikos. In reply Dinamo Kyiv said Lopez Nieto had wanted to buy the coats, but had refused to pay. Dinamo Kyiv were expelled from the competition and AaB took their place.

Group Stage

Rangers went into a group which included Juventus, Borussia Dortmund and Steaua Bucuresti. Getting a top two finish did not look likely and the most they could have hoped for was a third place finish.

The great Juventus side of players like Deschamps, Del Piero, Vialli and Ravanelli were to go on and win the competition. It was the second time Rangers had reached the group stage and the second time they'd ahd the eventual champions in their group.

Juventus taught them a footballing lesson on what turned out to be a two hidings. Jueventus went to town at home and were cruising with a three goal lead at half time. In scoring terms Rangers equalled them in the second half even though Clelland was red carded. For the return leg Rangers hoped to do better and ended up being beaten by four goals this time two weeks after the first match.

It was already beyond Rangers by this point. No points from those matched meant Rangers only had 1 point after 4 games having already lost in Romania and drawn at home to the Germans. There bottom placing was finalised after drawing with the Romanians at home before drawing away in Germany.

It was definitely a campaign to forget.

Results

Qualifying Round

Rangers 1-0 Anorthosis
Anorthosis 0-0 Rangers [Aggregate 0-1]

UEFA Champions' League Group C- Results

Steaua Bucuresti 1-0 Rangers
Rangers 2-2 Borussia Dortmund
Juventus 4-1 Rangers
Rangers 0-4 Juventus
Rangers 1-1 Steaua Bucuresti
Borussia Dortmund 2-2 Rangers

UEFA Champions' League Group C- Table

Code:
                           P  W  D  L  F  A Pts
JUVENTUS                   6  4  1  1 15  4 13  
BORUSSIA DORTMUND          6  2  3  1  8  8  9
Steaua Bucuresti           6  1  3  2  2  5  6
[color=blue]Rangers                    6  0  3  3  6 14  3[/color]
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
1996-97

Participation

Rangers were the Scottish representatives in the Champions League for the fifth time in five attempts. The rest of the SPL including rivals Celtic had for half a decade challenge for the a place in the lesser UEFA Cup.

Rangers had clinched their 8th league title in a row at the end of the 1995/96 season. This time they were pushed all the way by a resurgant Celtic who finished just 4 points behind them. Rangers had won the title on the penultimate day of the season with a 3-1 victory over Aberdeen.

The Old Firm had once again returned the SPL to a 2 horse race with the nearest challengers Aberdeen finishing in third spot 22 points off the top.

Format

For the third year running the format remianed intact.

  • Qualifying Round - 16 Team Knock-Out
  • Champions League- 4 Groups of 4 teams.
  • Quarter-Final- 2 teams from each of 4 groups.
  • Semi-Final- 4 winners play.
  • Final- 2 winners meet.
Qualifying Round

It looked like Rangers had a tougher draw than the previous season when drawn against Russian opposition. They were confident of winning the home leg but the trip to Russia in the return was though to be a difficult one. They faced unknown Russian side Alania Vladikavkaz.

At Ibrox Rangers were a goal down to the visitors. It was not going well at all. In the second half though they turned things around through McInnes, McCoist and Petric to take a two goal advantage to Russia. The away goal was a worry though.

The return game was extraordinary though. It was expected to be a tough match in Russia but it turned out not to be. Rangers ran riot with McCoist scoring a hat-trick in the first 20 minutes and Laudrup getting two later on to aff to Van Vossen and Charlie Miller's goals. It ended in a 10-3 thrashing on aggregate to Rangers.

Group Stage

Although still a tough group it looked a lot more pleasing than the group they'd faced the year before. They faced Auxerre, Grasshoppers and beaten finalists Ajax. Progress would be difficult but certainly a greater possibility this time around.

Rangers were on the wrong end of a 3-0 defeat in their first game away in Switzerland. They hoped to get back on track at Ibrox but were beaten 2-1 by Auxerre. Two quick second half strikes sealed the match after a goalless first half. Although Gascoigne pulled a goal back quickly after going two down Rangers were unable to get the equaliser.

After such a disappointing start they didn't fancy the trip to Amsterdam. That ended in an easy win for Ajax with Rangers now out of the competition and no points to their name. Ajax then added further salt to the wounds when they returned to Ibrox to win again.

Rangers saved a little face by beating Grasshoppers at home but then lost narrowly away in France in the last game.

Once again they had finished bottom of the league with only 3 points. It was a miserable state of affairs. Meanwhile future Celtic captain Paul Lambert was to appear in the final and pick up a winners medal as his Borussia Dortmund team beat Juventus 3-1 in the final.

Results

Qualifying Round

Rangers 3-1 Alania Vladikavkaz
Alania Vladikavkaz 2-7 Rangers [Aggregate 3-10]

UEFA Champions' League Group C- Results

Grasshoppers 3-0 Rangers
Rangers 1-2 Auxerre
Ajax 4-1 Rangers
Rangers 0-1 Ajax
Rangers 2-1 Grasshoppers
Auxerre 2-1 Rangers

UEFA Champions' League Group C- Table

Code:
                           P  W  D  L  F  A Pts
AJ Auxerre                6  4  0  2  8  7 12
Ajax                      6  4  0  2  8  4 12
Grasshopper               6  3  0  3  8  5  9
[color=blue]Rangers                   6  1  0  5  5 13  3
[/color]
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
1997-98

Participation

In the 96-97 season Rangers equalled Celtic's long standing record when they won nine league titles in a row. For the most part it was easy but in the end they were making it hard for themselves.

Before the last old firm game of the season at Celtic Park they lost 2-0 at home to Dundee United which brought Celtic closer to them with a 5 point gap. They were able though to beat Celtic 1-0 and move 8 points clear with 6 games still to play. Their last two games were away from home so they had a good chance of winning the league at home.

A 2-1 defeat by Kilmarnock saw them lose their second home game in a row but after beating Dunfermline at home then Raith away scoring 10 without reply they only needed a win at home to Motherwell to lift the title in front of the home fans. Rather predictibly Rangers lost 2-0. They had to wait till the midweek away match at Tannadice to clinch their 9th consecutive title whene a Brian Laudrup header gave Rangers a 1-0 win.

Rangers represented Scotland for the 6th time in the Champions League.

Format

The tournament had been expanded this year to inlcude twice as many teams but Scotland still only had one representative.

A preliminary round was added to the start of the competition which involved 30 teams and as a result the qualification round was doubled in size from 16 team to 32 teams. The League stage was also increased from 4 groups to 6 groups to accomodate another 8 teams. The 6 group winners would then go into the quarter finals with the two runners up who had accumulated the most points.

  • Preliminary Round - 30 Team Knock-Out
  • Qualifying Round - 32 Team Knock-Out
  • Champions League- 6 Groups of 4 teams.
  • Quarter-Final- 2 teams from each of 4 groups.
  • Semi-Final- 4 winners play.
  • Final- 2 winners meet.
Preliminary Round

Even with nearly twice as many teams competing this year Rangers still had to play the first round. They got an easy tie against Faroe side GI Gotu. Marco Negri, Gordon Durie and Ally McCoist all got 3 goals over the two legs as Rangers stormed to an easy eleven goal win.

Qualifying Round

They got a tougher tie in the qualifying round though against Swedish champions IFK Goteborg. The Sedish side had got a bye into this round and as it turned out the correct decision had been made.

In Sweden all looked well going in goalless at half time. It all fell apart in the seconf half though as the Swedes knocked three past Rangers. The tie was effectively over as Rangers bowed out for another year.

Rangers were determined to turn things around at Ibrox. They held a half-time advantage through a Charlie Miller goal and all was going pretty well. Within 5 minutes of the second half starting though it was all over when the visitors equalised leaving Rangers needing to score 4 times- they couldn't manage one.

IFK Goteborg finished bottom of their group with the same 6 points as Besiktas. Impressively though they beat Bayern Munich in Germany, the group was already over before that game though. Real Madrid went on to win the trophy beating Juventus in the final.

Results

Preliminary Round

GI Gotu 0-5 Rangers
Rangers 6-0 GI Gotu [Aggregate 11-0]

Qualifying Round

IFK Göteborg 3-0 Rangers
Rangers 1-1 IFK Göteborg [Aggregate 1-4]
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
1998-99

Participation

In the 97-98 season Rangers were on the verge of clinching a record-breaking 10-in-a-row. With 5 games remaining till the end of the season Rangers trailed Celtic by 3 points so had to win the Old Firm derby at Ibrox. They did. Rangers won 2-0 and with 4 games to go the rivals were neck and neck but Rangers were top thanks to a single goal giving them a goal difference advantage.

Rangers then threw it away after losing 1-0 to Aberdeen at Pittodrie while Celtic beat Motherwell 4-1 at home to put them 3 points ahead again. It wasn't over there though. Celtic struggled to a 0-0 draw at home to Hibs while Rangers hammered Hearts 3-0 at Tynecastle. With two games left Celtic were only a point ahead.

On the penultimate day of the season though the league was all but won- even if it was not mathematically. Celtic drew 1-1 away to Dunfermline which should have given Rangers the chance to go one point ahead but they lost 1-0 at home to Killie. It was a shock. Celtic had a two point advantage and only had to face St Johnstone at home while Rangers travelled to Tannadice.

Celtic had destiny in their own hands and beat the Perth side 2-0 at Celtic Park making Rangers 2-1 win over Dundee United irrelevant.

It was the end of an era for Rangers and the end of the line for the majority of the 9-in-a-row team still left at Ibrox. A new team was to be built and manager Walter Smith left for Everton leaving the incoming manager to build for the future. Dutchman Dick Advocaat became the first ever foreign manager of Rangers Football Club and to this day the only one too. He was only the tenth ever person to manage Rangers.

The Champions League was now in it's 7th year and for the first time Scotland had a new representative- Celtic. Rangers had struggled along for 6 years after an amazing first year but now had to miss out.

The European season

Celtic had their first chance at proving themselves in European club footballs most prestigious competiton. It didn't go well. The knocked out St. Patrick's Athletic 2-0 over two legs in the Preliminary Round but in the qualifying round were knocked out by Croatia Zagreb 3-1 on aggregate.

Advocaat's first year in charge was the first year that Rangers were not in the Champions league so his first priority was to win the league to get abck in the following season.

Although Advocaat had to make do with UEFA Cup football there were signs of improvement on the European front. They played 10 matches in all losing only 1. Having already knocked out Shelbourne (7-3), PAOK (2-0), Beitar Jerusalem (5-3) and Bayer Leverkusen (3-2) without losing a match they were into the last 16.

They were unfortunate though to draw Parma who were to go on and win the competition that year. After a 1-1 draw at Ibrox Rangers led 1-0 at half time in Italy thanks to an Albertz strike which rocketed low past Buffon. It was was all looking good but all went wrong in the second half due to the two Italians Rangers had in their side.

Sergio Porrini was sent off on halftime for a foul on Juan Sebastian Veron so Rangers had to play the whole second half with 10 men. Parma took a 2-1 lead but we still were not out of it. Not until big Lorenzo punched the ball in the box and Parma went 3-1 up with the penalty.

Although Rangers went out to the eventual winners they had looked a much better side than in the past 4 or 5 seasons. Things were looking up on the European front. The UEFA cup was a poor alternative to the Champions League so the aim was to get back their quickly by winning the league.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
1999-00

Participation

After Celtic short year of success, in which Rangers helped them to the title when they lost at home to Kilmarnock, Rangers were back in the driving seat domestically. Not only did Rangers win the league but Advocaat also brought them the treble as well as a great UEFA Cup run (covered in the previous post).

The league itself had been a walkover and the title had been all the sweeter as Rangers won it at Celtic Park when they hammered Celtic 3-0 in front of their own fans. Due to the problems that happened that day as a result the Old Firm derbies were changed thereafter being played earlier with a fixture list set put to ensure it couldn't happen again.

Rangers were back in the Champions League for the 7th time in it's 8 years.

Format

There were now major changes to the Champions League when Rangers arrived and it was alot bigger than previously. There were now 3 qualifying rounds to get through. The group stage had been extended from 6 groups of 4 to 8 groups. An additional group stage was also implemented which consisted of 4 groups.

The parachute for some Champions League clubs to the UEFA Cup was in extended too. In the previous season the clubs knocked out at the qualifying stage went into the UEFA Cup. This year the losing teams in the 3rd qualify
round went into the UEFA Cup and additionally the teams in 3rd place in the 2nd group went there too.

NOTE- a team starting in the first qualifying stage would have to play 23 games to win the competition :googly:

  • 1st Qualifying Round - 18 Team Knock-Out
  • 2nd Qualifying Round - 28 Team Knock-Out
  • 3rd Qualifying Round - 32 Team Knock-Out
  • Champions League Phase A- 8 Groups of 4 teams.
  • Champions League Phase B- 4 Groups of 4 teams.
  • Quarter-Final- 2 teams from each of 4 groups.
  • Semi-Final- 4 winners play.
  • Final- 2 winners meet.
2nd Qualifying Round

Rangers were spared a round for the first time. The skipped the 1st qualifying round and went straight into the 2nd round. They were drawn with Finnish side FC Haka.

FC Haka 1-4 Rangers
The tie was over at half-time over in Finland. Mols had scored twice with Amoruso opeing the scoring. Although the Fins pulled one back Johansson got a late 4th.

Rangers 3-0 FC Haka (Aggregate 7-1)
A walk in the park for Rangers. The tie was already over but Wallace, Johansson and Amato made sure.

3rd Qualifying Round

It was just plain bad luck that Rangers drew Parma in the 3rd round. The Italians for the second year in a row stood between them and European progress. The UEFA Cup holders wre justified favourites while Rangers could only hope they could avenge the UEFA Cup exit.

Rangers 2-0 Parma
Some say this was Rangers best Champions League performance at that point and some will say it was one of their best ever. Whatever the view point Rangers took Parma apart. A goal either side of half time from Vidmar and Reyna was enough to give them a deserved vicotry.

Parma 1-0 Rangers (Aggregate 1-2)
The tie was by no means over. Rangers needed a solid performance and they got one. It took nearly 70 minutes for the Italians to break Rangers down when Walem got what turned out to be the winner but it was not enough.

Rangers were through to the group stages and having already taken a big scalp were confident of doing well. The European future was looking bright.

Group F

Rangers were in a tough group alongside German, Spanish and Dutch opponents. Bayern Munich were the group favourites witht the other 3 thought to be contesting 2nd spot.

Valencia 2-0 Rangers
Rangers had travelled to Spain with high hopes of at least a point. Valencia had only had to play one tie easily disposing of Hapoel Haifa with a 2-0 win away and at home. They were not doing well in La Liga and looked to be at that stage one of the weaker Spanish sides.
For all Rangers had improved they were taught a footballing lesson. Valencia were red hot in this one and it was a suprise that it was goalless at half-time. In the second half though Rangers were put to the sword as Oz scored an Og and Kily Gonzalez wrapped up the points.

Rangers 1-1 Bayern Munich
Rangers stayed rooted to the bottom of the table after this match but took some comfort after playing the Germans off the Park. Rangers had dominated all game and held a deserved 1-0 advantage from halfway through the first half after Albertz scored. They were unable to add to the lead and paid the ultimate price a minute from time. Bayern Munich, who hadn't really troubled Rangers, got an equaliser when Tarnat's free kick hit the back of the net. It was a real injustice.

PSV Eindhoven 0-1 Rangers
Rangers really needed a win or a point at least from this one to have any chance of progressing. PSV were on the same single point and both were chasing the other two on 4 points.
Rangers played well in this game and matched the Dutch side. They got their reward 7 minutes from time when that man again Albertz scored the winner.

Rangers 4-1 PSV Eindhoven
With 3 games played in the group Rangers had a great opportunity to move up from 3rd spot and almost ensure a UEFA spot at last by beating PSV. The two teams above were sitting on 5 points and were about to play again so Rangers if they won were assured of at least 2nd place with 2 games to go.
Rangers destroyed PSV with Amoruso, McCann and two goals from Mols giving them victory. PSV did get one back via a Van Nistelrooy penalty but it didn't matter.
Rangers were top of the group on 7 points with Valencia and Bayern Munich chasing on 6 points. They were now assured of at least a UEFA spot but wanted to progress in the Champions League instead.

Rangers 1-2 Valenica
Inevitibly it was not to be. Rangers had the opportunity to guarantee progress by beating Valencia at home. Little did they know that a home win would also see them top the group as Munich were to be beaten in Holland on the same night.
It was all going OK until 10 minutes from half-time. Some great football saw Mendieta and Claudio Lopez give Valencia a 2-0 lead. Ibrox was stunned. Rangers came out fighting in the second half and a Craig Moore goal gave them a lifeline. They had half an hour to save the tie but despite their pressure they couldn't get another goal.

Bayern Munich 1-0 Rangers
Destiny was still in the hands of Rangers. Valencia were going to win the group on 12 points as they beat PSV. Rangers though were still one point ahead of the Germans so a draw was all they needed at the Olympic stadium to go through.
After half an hour they were chasing the match when Munich scored from the spot through Strunz. It was a cheap goal to lose and the second such goal against the German giants. Rangers didn't give up but in the end they couldn't get the equalsier they required and went out of the Champions League.

UEFA Champions' League Group F- Table

Code:
                          P  W  D  L  F  A Pts
Valencia CF               6  3  3  0  8  4 12
Bayern München            6  2  3  1  7  6  9
[color=blue]Rangers                   6  2  1  3  7  7  7  [/color]
PSV (Eindhoven)           6  1  1  4  5 10  4
Out of the Champions League

After Rangers exited the Champions League they were to see just exactly how well they had competed. They had narrowly missed out on progressing to two very good European sides. In the next group stage Valencia progressed in second spot only 3 points behind Manchester United. Bayern Munich progressed too winning their group 3 points clear of Real Madrid.

Both clubs won their quarter final matches. Valencia knocked out Lazio (5-3) and Bayern Munich knocked out Porto (3-2). Although the Germans lsot out in the semi finals to Real Madrid (2-3) the surprise package Valencia went to the final beating Barcelona (5-3). They were to lose the final 3-0 but it was very apparent that Rangers had competed well against two of the best European sides that year.

UEFA Place

Rangers stay in the UEFA Cup was cut short at the first hurdle. The tie against Borussia Dortmund ended 2-2 after both clubs had won their home games by a 2-0 scoreline. It went to penalties and Rangers went out 3-1.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
2000-01

Participation

Rangers under Advocaat were now not only proving to be a decent side in Europe but also coasting through the domestic scene. The Gers won the title by a massive 21 points from Celtic.

It was year 9 of the Champions League and Rangers went into the competition on behalf of Scotland for the 8th time.

Format

The format remianed unchanged for this season.

  • 1st Qualifying Round - 18 Team Knock-Out
  • 2nd Qualifying Round - 28 Team Knock-Out
  • 3rd Qualifying Round - 32 Team Knock-Out
  • Champions League Phase A- 8 Groups of 4 teams.
  • Champions League Phase B- 4 Groups of 4 teams.
  • Quarter-Final- 2 teams from each of 4 groups.
  • Semi-Final- 4 winners play.
  • Final- 2 winners meet.
2nd Qualifying Round

Rangers were spared the first qualifying round again. They were drawn to play the Lithuanian side Zalgiris Kaunas. Not alot was known about the opponents except that they had beaten Bosnian team Brotnjo Citluk by a 7-0 aggregate in the previous round.

Rangers 4-1 Zalgiris Kaunas
The Lithuanians were no mugs. At half time they had already cancelled out Alan Johnston earlier goal. An Albertz penalty in the second half gave Rangers a slender lead but they had to wait till the 89th minute before Billy Dodds got two crucial late goals.

Zalgiris Kaunas 0-0 Rangers (Aggregate 1-4)
Rangers didn't impress in Lithuania but a draw was enough to see them through. It was a job done.

3rd Qualifying Round

Rangers got an easier time this time around. They avoided all the big guns are were drawn with Danish side Herfolge BK.

Herfolge BK 0-3 Rangers
After taking a 2-0 half time lead Rangers cruised through the game to win the tie thanks to goals from Albertz,Wallace and Amoruso.

Rangers 3-0 Herfolge BK (Aggregate 6-0)
The return game was a formality as Rangers already new they had done enough to reach the group stages once again. Wallace, Johnston and Kanchelskis all got second half goals to put the tie beyond doubt.

Group D

Luck looked to be on Rangers side this year. Not only had they been given an easier qualifier to get to the group stage but in the first group stage they were to face more favourable opponents in Monaco, Galatasaray and Sturm Graz.

Rangers 5-0 Sturm Graz
It could not have started any better. Rangers looked every bit a decent European outfit as they set out to destroy the Austrians. Within half an hour the game was over as Mols, new signing De Boer and then Albertz put Rangers three up. It was in danger of becoming a cricket score as the Austrians coul offer nothing in reply. Van Bronckhorst and Dodds added to the tally late in the second half to put Rangers top of the table.

Monaco 0-1 Rangers
It was proving all too easy for Rangers as van Bronckhorst put them one nil up after 9 minutes. It was a great long range strike. Rangers setup very defensively to hit on the counter with Tugay protecting the back four. it worked to great effect.
Rangers were top of the group having scored 6 and conceded none.

Galatasaray 3-2 Rangers
Rangers wre optimistic going to Turkey and had every right to be. Graz had beaten them 3-0 in the last game. Rangers were 3 points ahead of the rest.
Their confidence was still their at half time as the teams went in goalless. Klos was carrying an injury but the Turkish side had done little to test him but they made sure they did in the second half.

In little over 10 minutes Bulent and Hakan Unsal rattled Rangers as they went 2-0 down. Worse was to come when Jardel made it 3-0 as Rangers jsut collapsed. It was clear to see Klos was struggling. Rangers mounted a fight back straight away with Kanchelskis replying within 2 minutes. They were unable to get another quick one though and even a blistering van Bronckhorst free kick in the 90th minute was not enough to get a point.

After 3 games Rangers and Galatasaray were joint top on 6 points. Monaco were now level with Sturm Graz on 3 points after hammering the Austrians 5-0.

Rangers 0-0 Galatasaray
From what had looked a great position after 2 matches was now looking shakey. That would all change if Rangers could have beaten Galatasaray to go top of the group but they were struggling. Injuries were taking their toll on the squad. Klos played on but was nowhere near 100% fit. From the team which had beaten Monaco away Numan, Amoruso, van Bronckhorst, Mols and Johnston were all missing.

Rangers couldn't field any recognised attackers so had to play with Lovenkrands on his own up front. Reyna had to play at right back so Porrini could play at centre half with Konterman. It was a make shift side. In the first half it showed as the Turks dominated.

Rangers came into the game more in the second half and had the chances to get the 3 points as they pressurised the away side. McCann had come on for the Dane and came close to scoring as did Vidmar, Feruson and Kanchelskis. They couldn't find the vital goal and it was two points dropped.

With 2 games to go Rangers and Galatasaray were tied at the top on 7 points with Sturm Graz just behind on 6 points after beating Monaco 2-0 at home.

Sturm Graz 2-0 Rangers
With 2 games still to play a win in Austria would ensure that Rangers progressed, a draw would just about do it with the Austrians still having to travel to Turkey.

After hammering the Austrian side on day one Rangers should have had nothing to fear but they were playing the proverbial home side that didn't travel. Sturm Graz had won both their home games but had lost bother their away games 5-0.

The injury problems were still there. Although Numan, Amoruso, Wallace and van Bronckhorst they still had key players out. Mols and Johnston wre still missing from the side as well as long term injuries to Ricksen and Moore. The biggest worry of all though was that Klos finally could no longer continue and Rangers ahd to bring in a new keeper Jesper Christiansen to replace him- he was pants.

Rangers were beaten by counter-attacking football. Two quick attacks ripped Rangers open and the young keeper did little to get near the ball. It put Rangers' hopes of progress in jeopardy.

Rangers 2-2 Monaco
It was a strange scenario. The team that had lost 2 of their 5 games by 5-0 scorelines were leading the group on 9 points, thanks to a 100% home record. Rangers and Galatasaray were tied behind them on 7 points while Monaco were right behind with 6 points. It was wide open. A win for any team would ensure progress.

The Rangers side that faced Monaco at home was an almost completely different side to the one that had played Monaco away as the teams was ravished by injury. This is the difference with the players in red starting both games:

Code:
           [color=red]Monaco (Away)           Monaco (Home)[/color]

[b]1.[/b]         Klos                    Christiansen
[b]2.[/b]         Reyna                   Ricksen
[b]3.[/b]         Konterman               Wilson
[b]4.[/b]         [color=blue]Amoruso                 Amoruso[/color]
[b]5.[/b]         [color=blue]Numan                   Numan[/color]
[b]6.[/b]         [color=blue]Ferguson[/color]                Vidmar
[b]7.[/b]         Tugay                   [color=blue]DeBoer[/color]
[b]8.[/b]         van Bronckhorst         [color=blue]Ferguson[/color]
[b]9.[/b]         [color=blue]Mols                    Mols[/color]
[b]10.[/b]        [color=blue]DeBoer[/color]                  Miller
[b]11.[/b]        Johnston                Albertz
This with the other players who appeared in either game like Moore, Wallace, Lovenkrands, Porrini, Dodds, McCann and Kanchelskis proved to hinder Rangers too much. A win was all Rangers needed and it was all in their own hands.

Twice Rangers took the lead. Kenny Miller scored in 3 minutes but that was cancelled out before half time. Mols restored the lead early in the second half but with 12 minutes remaining Monaco again equalised. Rangers were out of the Champions League after a close fight.

Rangers finished on the same points as Galatasarasy and a much better goal difference but it was the games between each other that mattered and what finally knocked Rangers out.

UEFA Champions' League Group F- Table

Code:
                          P  W  D  L  F  A Pts
SK Sturm Graz             6  3  1  2  9 12 10
Galatasaray               6  2  2  2 10 13  8  
[color=blue]Rangers                   6  2  2  2 10  7  8[/color]  
AS Monaco                 6  2  1  3 13 10  7
Out of the Champions League

Unsuprisingly in the second Group ohace Sturm Graz failed to progress in their group topped by Manchester United and Valancia. The Turkish side did impress though finishing 2nd in their group behind Deportivo La Coruna but ahead of Milan and PSG.

Galatasaray had the misfortune though of playing the holders Real Madrid in the quarter finals though. Although they beat them in Turkey the Spanish side ran out 5-3 over all victors. Bayern Munich went on to win the competition that year on penalties after a 1-1 draw with Valencia.

UEFA Place

The exit to the UEFA Cup was a sour one after coming so close but that was about to go even more horribly wrong. After beating Kaiserslautern 1-0 at Ibrox the Gers were thumped 3-0 in Germany for an early bath.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
2001-02

Participation

Rangers hold on the domestic scene had ended with the start of the 2000-01 season. Advocaat now had a more than equal advesery in new Celtic manager Martin O'Neill. A shift of 36 points took place as Rangers had to play second fiddle 15 points behind title winners Celtic having won the title by 21 points the year before.

They had a lifeline though thanks to their own European campaigns. They had played the major role in raising Scotland's co-efficient and Scotland now had two representatives in the Champions League. The old firm went into this campaign together.

Format

The format remianed unchanged for this season.

  • 1st Qualifying Round - 18 Team Knock-Out
  • 2nd Qualifying Round - 28 Team Knock-Out
  • 3rd Qualifying Round - 32 Team Knock-Out
  • Champions League Phase A- 8 Groups of 4 teams.
  • Champions League Phase B- 4 Groups of 4 teams.
  • Quarter-Final- 2 teams from each of 4 groups.
  • Semi-Final- 4 winners play.
  • Final- 2 winners meet.
2nd Qualifying Round

Rangers were again in the second round after getting a bye from the first round. Celtic didn't have to play this round. Rangers drew Maribor.

Rangers 3-0 NK Maribor
Flo got two of the goals with Nerlinger getting the other to give Rangers a confortable victory.

NK Maribor 1-3 Rangers (Aggregate 1-6)
Flo scored again with Caniggia adding another two as Rangers won this one after trailing 1-0 at half-time.

3rd Qualifying Round

Although this was Celtic's first game they got the harder of the two draws. They were pitted against Ajax but came through that 3-2 on aggregate winning in Amsterdam then losing at home. Shota Arveladze was to score in the game in Holland.

Rangers again faced a Turkish side but this time it was Fenerbahce.

Rangers 0-0 Fenerbahce
Rangers had an injury crisis on their hands yet again. Barry Ferguson, Lorenzo Amoruso, Christian Nerlinger, Ronald de Boer and Claudio Reyna were all out injured. They battled on regardless.

A moment of madness and injustices proved to be Rangers downfall on the night in a game they had dominated. In the second half Mols replaced Caniggia. He contributed well but then went a bit mad. He and Samuel Johnson were at each other a couple of times. On the last occassion the Fenerbahce player fell to the deck after a kick my Mols but made a real meal of it. Rustu ran storming out and pushed Mols to the ground. The two Fenerbahce players were cautioned but Mols was sent packing.

It made the task impossible and Rangers had to settle for the draw.

Fenerbahce 2-1 Rangers (Aggregate 2-1)
The Turks deserved their win back at home. As early as the 4th minute they were in front but had to wait another 68 minutes to make sure. Fernando Ricksen pulled one back for Rangers but it was not enough as they crashed out of the Champions League before the group stages.

Out of the Champions League

Scotland's other representatives Celtic finished their group in 3rd place behind Juventus and Porto but ahead of Rosenborg. They took advantage of the UEFA Cup parachute aftre their second run in the Champions League.

Just how badly Rangers had done in not getting to the group stages came home to roost with the Fenerbahce campaign. in a group with Barcelona, Leverkusen and Lyon the Turkish side finished rock bottom with no points to their credit.

Real Madrid lifted the trophy at Hampden Park after beating Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 in the final.

UEFA Place

Rangers went straight into the first round of the UEFA Cup beating Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala 1-0 on aggregate. In the second round they met Russian opposition again but this time didn't mess about as they hammered Dynamo Moscow 7-2 on aggregate.

In the 3rd round they wre joined by Celtic. Both sides' fates were to be decided on penalties. Celtic went out 5-4 on penalties to Valencia after drawing 1-1 on aggregate. Rangers progressed 4-3 on penaltes against PSG after a goalless tie.

Rangers were in the last 16 but before they played Feywenoord there was a big change. Manager Dick Advocaat moved upstairs to become director of football and Rangers brought in Alex McLeish as manager. McLeish's first European tie was in the last 16.

Deja Vu was experienced again. It was just like the 1998-99 UEFA Cup campaign although they didn't know it at the time. They were in the last 16 and drawn against Feyenoord. After a 1-1 draw at home they lost the away leg 3-2 due to two Van Hooijdonk free kicks. Both sides finished with 10 men. It was the same stage Parma had knocked them out when Parma went on to win it. Feyenoord likewise went onto win the UEFA Cup in this season.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
2002-03

Participation

This was a season, 2001-02, of mixed feelings domestically for Rangers which saw manager Dick Advocaat was under pressure by Decemeber. The Ibrox men had lost both Old Firm games and were trailing Celtic by 12 points in the league. Martin O'Neill's men were running away with it. Rangers appointed Alex McLeish as manager but their was little he could do when he arrived in the middle of December to stop Celtic running off with the league for the second season in a row. Celtic won the league by 18 points gathering over 100 points and losing only one game all season.

McLeish did however make some impact. Rangers were still in the two domestic trophies despite the league being over. McLeish brought them both back to Ibrox. It was all the sweeter because in the League Cup they knocked Celtic out in the semi final 2-1 thanks to a fantastic Konterman strike before winning the final against Ayr 4-0. More was to follow. They faced old rivals Celtic in the Scottish Cup final and with a last gasp Lovenkrands header beat them 3-2 to lift that trophy too.

Although the big prize was out of McLeish's hands he excelled in the other competitions. The signs for the future were good and Rangers expected to challenge a rampant Celtic the following season.

As far as Europe went though it was a disaster. They failed to qualify for the Champions league for only the second time (the other being the 1998-99 season) in it's 11 year history. Scotland's co-efficient had dropped so only the SPL Champions, Celtic, entered the competition.

The European Season

Rangers had to make do with the UEFA Cup and that went horribly wrong. They were drawn with Czech side Viktoria Zizkov and were shocked to come back to Scotland with a 2-0 defeat. Captain Barry Ferguson had missed a penalty for the first time to compound to the problem.

Rangers were still confident of turning it around and after 90 minutes at Ibrox they had as two Ronald De Boer strikes took them to extra time. Seven minutes in McCann got the goal that put Rangers in the driving seat. Four minutes later though it was all over as Zizkov pulled a goal back. At 3-1 Zizkov were leading the tie on goal difference.

Try as they might Rangers couldn't get the goal in the second period of extra time that would take them through. Zizkov even went down to 10 men but it was too late to have an effect. Rangers swamped their goal and almost scored the goal they needed when a Stefan Klos header was cleared off the line- the keeper was very unlucky not to get his first Rangers goal. It ended 3-3 on aggregate and Rangers were out of Europe altogether after only two game.

It really was a disaster in Alex McLeish's first full season in charge. O'Neill had a similar start when his Celtic side were knocked out of the UEFA Cup second round by Bordeaux. Things could only improve.

Celtic meanwhile had mixed fortunes. They suffered a similar fate in the Champions League to what Rangers had in the UEFA Cup. They only managed two games before being knocked out on goal difference by the relatively unknown at the time Basle from Switzerland. This was compensated by a UEFA Cup run which saw them beaten in the final by Jose Mourinho's Porto. In the Champions League an all Italian final saw Milan beat Juventus on penalties to lift the crown.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
2003-04

Participation

The 2002/03 season had been a disaster in Europe for McLeish and it was obvious to all that he was not an equal to Advocaat on that front. At home though he did what Advocaat could not and take his struggling side who had lost the SPL title by 18 points the previous season to Championship glory in this season.

As well as the SPL title McLeish had brought Rangers all 3 Scottish trophies back to the Ibrox trophy room in a great treble. He had won in total 5 trophies in 18 months of the job which is an amazing statistic. Once again it had involved beating Celtic in a final and this time it was 2-1 in the league cup.

Rangers were back in the Champions League for the 10th time in it's 12 years. The Championship had given them the added bonus of only having to play one qualifying round. The Scottish co-efficient was good enough again to get 2 teams in the competition.

Transition

The treble champions should have went into the European campaign in high spirits and a high degree of optimism after their achievements but it was not to be. The team was dismantled and replaced with basically inferior players.

Players Leaving
Claudio Caniggia (Freed)
Jerome Bonnissel (Fulham)
Arthur Numan (Retired)
Bert Konterman (Vitesse)
Lorenzo Amoruso (Blackburn)
Neil McCann (Southampton)
Kevin Muscat (Millwall)

Players Brought in
Henning Berg (Blackburn)
Nuno Capucho (Porto)
Egil Ostenstad (Blackburn)
Emerson (Unattached)
Gavin Rae (Dundee)
Zurab Khizanishvili (Dundee)
Paulo Vanoli (Unattached)

Format

The format had changed since Rangers were last in the competition in 2001-02 season. The 1st qualifying round had increased from 18 to 20 teams. That was a minor change. The big change was that the second group stage of 16 teams had been replaced by a knockout stage reducing the games in that round from 6 to 2 matches.

  • 1st Qualifying Round - 20 Team Knock-Out
  • 2nd Qualifying Round - 28 Team Knock-Out
  • 3rd Qualifying Round - 32 Team Knock-Out
  • Champions League Phase A- 8 Groups of 4 teams.
  • 1/8 round - 16 Team Knock-Out.
  • Quarter-Final- 8 Team Knock-Out.
  • Semi-Final- 4 Team Knock-Out.
  • Final- 2 winners meet.
3rd Qualifying Round

Both the old firm avoided the first round. Celtic overcame Kaunas (5-0) in the second round while Rangers had a bye their too. The hoops progressed to the group stages after an easy tie against MTK Hungaria (5-0). Rangers had to face the Danish side Copenhagen which was a tougher prospect.

Rangers 1-1 F.C. Copenhagen
Rangers were outplayed at home by the Danes on a derpressing Champions League night in Glasgow. Lovenkrands put Rangers ahead but this was cancelled out by Todi Jonsson. Copenhagen's Zuma ran Rangers ragged at the back all night.

F.C. Copenhagen 1-2 Rangers (Aggregate 2-3)
Rangers needed a big performance in Denmark and they got one. The build up to the game had been playing second fiddle to the newspaper stories that captain Barry Fergsuon was about to leave to go to the Premiership with Blackburn having only jsut signed a 5 year deal.

On the night Rangers were a much improved side from the first leg. Arteta game Rangers a deserved lead from the penalty spot for the vital away goal and the prospect of a £10m windfall for progressing looked on at this stage- much needed given the clubs debt. Seven minutes from time though disaster struck as Dos Santos pulled the Danes level. It looked to be heading for extra time. Within 3 minutes though naring the end of the match Arveladze hammered a great turn and shot into the net to give Rangers the lead. They were through to the group stages.

Group E

Celtic were drawn in Group A in the easier of the two groups alongside Bayern Munich, Lyon and Anderlecht. Rangers were drawn in Group 3 with Manchester United, VfB Stuttgart and Panathinaikos.

Rangers were already looking like a much weaker team this season with the clearout in the summer. The new players were not up to scratch so all did not look good for the coming campaign. There was a bigger blow though when captain Barry Fergsuon was allowed to leave to head South for Blackburn.

Rangers 2-1 VfB Stuttgart
Rangers held their own at home to a very good German side but were victim of a sucker punch right on half time when Kuranyi put the visitors ahead. Rangers went more offensive in the second half and applied more pressure on the Germans but they defended well. Timo Hildebrand looked unbeatable between the sticks but after a mix-up in his Nerlinger profited to put Rangers level with 16 mintes to go. Five minutes later better was to come when a solo run from Lovenkrands so him hit the back of the net to give Rangers a great start to the campaign.

Panathinaikos 1-1 Rangers
It was all going too well for Rangers when substitute Ioannis Goumas was sent off early in the second half. Rangers were already leading through an Emerson 3 yard strike. All they had to do was see the game out to top the group as Manchester United lost in Germany.

There was no threat and the home side didn't look like getting near the goalmouth never mind score but with 2 minutes to go Konstantinidis did just that when he headed home to equalise. Rangers had thrown the game away and it was a turning point in their season which saw them go downhill fast.

Rangers 0-1 Manchester United
Rangers wre caught napping in the first 5 minutes of this game. Phil Neville did his impersonation of Moses and Rangers did their impression of the red sea. The whole team backed off and parted the way for Neville to stride through and score. Rangers did come back into the game with Lovenkrands and Vanoli spoiling chances but were defeated in the end.

Manchester United 3-0 Rangers
Men against boys. It was always only ever going to be a matter of how many. Forlan opened the scoring before Ruud van Nistelrooy grabbed another two. Rangers were well beaten.

Vfb Stuttgart 1-0 Rangers
This game should have been a formality for a much better German side but it proved not to be. Rangers actually competed well and were very unlucky not to take a point.

Rangers had yet another big injury list which saw a midifled of Capucho, Hughes, Ross and Vanoli with Arveladze and Lovenkrands up front- not the msot aspiring team. Not much could be done about that as Mikel Arteta, Ronald de Boer, Craig Moore, Christian Nerlinger and Steven Thompson were all injured. They did put up a good fight though.

The Bundesliga side got their goal deep into first half injury time. It came from a free kick that should never have been given but Ross and Vanoli played their part in gifting Wenzel his goal after colliding when going for the same ball.

Rangers 1-3 Panathinaikos
This game was the real killer. A draw would have seen Rangers go into the UEFA cup and after a good performance in Germany confindence was high. The Greeks had only managed 1 point in 5 games but that had been against Rangers. No won saw anything other than a home win for this one.

For half an hour Rangers plugged away onto of the visiting defence trying to get the opening goal and eventually got it through a Mols header. This was the goal they needed and it looked like the Greeks would now crumble as the floodgates opened, not so. Lovenkrands had the chance to put Rangers 2-0 up almost immediately but fluffed it. It seemed to give the visitors confidence and they went up the park then scored through Zautoutas. Rangers were stunned to be level at half-time but still no need to panic as they were the much better side.

Rangers came out looking like a beaten team for some reason and Panathinaikos were totally on top- they looked a completely different side. They started to rip Rangers apart and after a string of chances Basinas hammered them ahead from long range on the 62nd minute. There was no way back for Rangers as there was only one team in the game. Insult was added to injury with 10 minutes to go when Konstantinou got his side a well deserved third goal.

Rangers were well beaten and out.

UEFA Champions' League Group E- Table

Code:
                          P  W  D  L  F  A Pts
Manchester United         6  5  0  1 13  2 15
VfB Stuttgart             6  4  0  2  9  6 12
Panathinaikos             6  1  1  4  5 13  4  
[color=blue]Rangers                   6  1  1  4  4 10  4  [/color]
Out of the Champions League

Rangers had started well, stuttered throughout and ended in the poorest of performances. It was not good enough. They were out of Europe completely and deservedly so given the quality and effort in their ranks.

Celtic had finished 3rd in their group to get a UEFA spot. They had finished on the same points as bottom side Anderlecht but the results were enough to give them 3rd as they had beaten the Belgians 3-1 to their 1-0 beating of Celtic. Their UEFA Cup run ended in the Quarter Finals when they wre beaten by Villareal.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
2004-05

Participation

The 2003/04 was a barren one for Rangers. Celtic won the league easily with Rangers not giving them much of a fight. The season had started with wholesale changes and was to end with more. Most of the players like Emerson, Capucho, Ostenstad, Berg and Frank De Boer who had come in at the start of the season left at the end. It was an abysmal showing and a season Gers fans would like to forget.

The co-efficient was still good enough to allow the SPL runner-up entry to the Champions League as well as the winner. This time Rangers would once again start with the third qulification round but Celtic were able to go straight into the group stages.

Transition

It was another transition period for Rangers. The players listed above who had barely lasted a season left with the likes of Ronald DeBoer, Michael Mols, Mikel Arteta and Christian Nerlinger leaving too. The players Rangers brought in were better than the previous season's failures.

French international Jean-Alian Boumsong and Champions League finalist Dado Prso arrived on Bosmans. As did Livi defender Marvin Andrews and Wolves midfielder Alex Rae. Nacho Novo had finished joint second top scorer behind Larsson at Dundee and was bought for £450,000 while Serbian International Dragan Mladenovic cost £1m- the most McLeish had spent since signing Arteta from Barcelona for £6m in his first year.

Format

The format remained unchanged.

  • 1st Qualifying Round - 20 Team Knock-Out
  • 2nd Qualifying Round - 28 Team Knock-Out
  • 3rd Qualifying Round - 32 Team Knock-Out
  • Champions League Phase A- 8 Groups of 4 teams.
  • 1/8 round - 16 Team Knock-Out.
  • Quarter-Final- 8 Team Knock-Out.
  • Semi-Final- 4 Team Knock-Out.
  • Final- 2 winners meet.
3rd Qualifying Round

Both the Old Firm avoided the first two rounds with Rangers as SPL runners up ahving to play in the 3rd round qualifier. Celtic went straight into the group stages.

Rangers were drawn with Russian side CSKA Moscow. They had a good record against Russian sides but this was not your typical Russian side- they were spending big. A lucretive Sponsorship deal with Roman Abramovic's oil company had allowed them to bring in players on big transfer fees. Jiri Jarosik, Ivica Olic and Vagner Love were the big three purchases and all played a big part in the ties against Ragners.

CSKA Moscow 2-1 Rangers

The Russian side wre already half way through their season when Rangers travelled. The new look Rangers side had only played one competative match before the kick-off. Rangers were beaten by a better side on the night but all goals erred on the sloppy.

Vagner Love put the Russians ahead within 5 minutes. Lovenkrands was caught in possession and as Olic broke Rangers were caught out of position. CSKA were then guilty of bad defending when Prso robbed the last man Berezutskiy of the ball and broke through on goal. The outcome after a couple of attempts was an equaliser by Nacho Novo.

Rangers had been caught cold in the first half and it was to happen again in the second half. Rangers went to sleep at a throw-in and Jarosik whacked in a quality drive to put CSKA in front.

Rangers 1-1 CSKA Moscow (Aggregate 2-3)
This was a frustrating night for Rangers who really didn't get going at all. They offered nothing in attack and never looked in danger of winning the match. The exception was Novo who scored a cracking goal in the first half but the referee pulled it back to give Rangers a free-kick which ended up not being an advantage.

On the hour mark sloppy defending from Moore in particular allowed Jarosik to cross the ball over and Vagner Love to put CSKA in front. The game was effectively over even though Rangers pushed for an equaliser.

The equalsier did eventually come when sub Stevie Thompson netted well on 86 minutes but it was too late. Rangers through everyone forward and big Central defender Marvin Andrews masquarading as a centre forward almost got the goal Rangers needed but hit the side netting from close range.

Rangers were out before the group stages but took some solace in the fact that they were beaten by a very good side.

Celtic went straight into a group containing Milan, Barcelona and Shakhtar Donetsk. They finished bottom of the group and went straight out of Europe altogether.

UEFA Cup

Rangers went through on penalties from the first round of the UEFA cup against Maritimo. A 1-1 aggregate scoreline was not enough to decide the tie which was eventually won by Vignal's penalty in the shoot out.

The UEFA Cup introduced group stages this year and Rangers had made it there. They beat Amica 5-0 away and then AK Grazer 3-0 at home. It was looking very good indeed. A minor blip happened on matchday 3 when they lost 1-0 away to Alkmaar but they were still well in the driving seat for the visit of Auxerre. It was an all too familiar story though as they crashed to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Guy Roux's men and ultimately out of Europe altogether finishing 4th in the table of 5.
 

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Good work chivo. I suspect procrastination may have had something to do with it ;) . You're not getting paid for it, are you? I'd do that sort of thing if I got paid. Appreciate the effort, but most of it is pretty depressing stuff that i've tried to forget.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Teddy Bear said:
i'm still sick from what happened in 92/93

:mad: @ Tapie
Probably half the CSKA Moscow team are still sick too if the rumours were true about the food tampering.

Angle_eyes said:
Good work chivo. I suspect procrastination may have had something to do with it ;) . You're not getting paid for it, are you? I'd do that sort of thing if I got paid. Appreciate the effort, but most of it is pretty depressing stuff that i've tried to forget.
LOL, thanks. No payment I'm afraid. Just jogging my own memory out loud. In light of recent European performances it's good to remember we had better nights in the last decade or so.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
It does annoy me a little when I hear the dark side blabbing on about "their record in the Champions League":

Scottish Champions League Overview

The Old Firm are the only teams ever to represent Scotland in the Champions League due to their dominance of the Scottish Premier League. Their progress is charted below.

Code:
[b]Year          [color=blue]Rangers[/color]           [color=green]Celtic[/color][/b]
______________________________________________
1992/93      [color=blue]Last 8[/color]             [i]failed to qualify[/i]
1993/94      [color=blue]Last 32[/color]            [i]failed to qualify[/i]
1994/95      [color=blue]Last 24[/color]            [i]failed to qualify[/i]
1995/96      [color=blue]Last 16[/color]            [i]failed to qualify[/i]
1996/97      [color=blue]Last 16[/color]            [i]failed to qualify[/i]
1997/98      [color=blue]Last 40[/color]            [i]failed to qualify[/i]
1998/99      [i]failed to qualify[/i]  [color=green]Last 40[/color]
1999/00      [color=blue]Last 32[/color]            [i]failed to qualify[/i]
2000/01      [color=blue]Last 32[/color]            [i]failed to qualify[/i]
2001/02      [color=blue]Last 48[/color]            [color=green]Last 32[/color]
2002/03      [i]failed to qualify[/i]  [color=green]Last 48[/color]
2003/04      [color=blue]Last 32[/color]            [color=green]Last 32[/color]
2004/05      [color=blue]Last 48[/color]            [color=green]Last 32[/color]

We have been the only Scottish force in the top European Competition. Celtic don't even come close and from the looks of things never will- at least for a long time. 4 times we have been beyond last 32. That's something we should be very proud of and put along side all our other records.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I just heard last night on the radio that there is no automatic qualification for Scotland next season in the Champions League. Not sure who displaced Scotland but now the top two SPL sides must qualify. The SPL winners will play one qualification round, 3rd round, and the SPL runners-up will play two rounds, 2nd round start.
 
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