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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
It's semi final time and our chance to get to the third final of the season. Like every other time before it looks unlikely but we were proved wrong each time previously. This time though there is real concern. Not only are we facing arguably our toughest opponents yet in this competition but we are without a number of players. Options are limited.

Suspended
Barry Ferguson
Kevin Thomson

Injured
DeMarcus Beasley
Charlie Adam
Allan McGregor
Lee McCulloch
Steven Naismith
Chris Burke

Possible
Kris Boyd (has the shits)

Basically our whole left side of midfield is gone and options are limited on the right. Added to there our strongest area, central midfield, has had the heart ripped out too. In midfield we are going to have a fairly inexperienced midfield or at the very least a midfield with a lack of playing time.

It's a game we have to win but that in itself will be hard. I really hope Walter is not going to play for a goalless draw but fear he will. I can't see us winning over in Florence so I really feel we have to take our chances here. Walter has been right every time so far though so I suppose there is no point questioning how he sets out. Away from home though I expect an onslaught like the one in Bremen.

I think it would be fair to say this is the weakest Serie a for many seasons. Inter look the part and Roma to some extent too but giants like Juve and particularly Milan have been unimpressive. Fiorentina though are having a good season. They look likely to keep Milan down in 5th while they cement 4th in the league. While doing this they remain the only Italian side left in European competition which even at this late end is very unusual.

They have grown stronger as the season has progressed and particularly as this competition has moved on. They were very close to not even making the group stages of the UEFA Cup after two 1:1 draws against midtable Eredivisie side took them to penalties. They came through that lottery to finish second in their group. This included creditable draws, by 1:1 again, at 1st place Villarreal and 3rd place AEK. At home they hammered Elfsborg 6:1 and eventually won 2:1 over Mlada Boleslav who were equal at one stage before Vieri got the winner.

In the round of 32 is was plain sailing beating Rosenborg home and away to go through. Everton provided stiffer oppostion in the next round. They had their 2:0 home win reversed at Goodison. Again penalties got them through. Much better was to follow in the last round though. PSV managed what could only be discribed as a lucky draw in Florence but inspired by Mutu they won 2:0 in Holland to dump Eredvisie leaders who had knocked out Spurs in the round before.

They have been a bit fragile on the road. In their last 6 matches in all competitions they have only 1 win and that was away to PSV. The defeats have come at Inter (0:2), Udinese (1:3), Napoli (0:2), Everton (0:2) and Siena (0:1). So it will be interesting to see if at Ibrox they set up not to lose like us and we get yet another 0:0 draw.

It's guaranteed Walter will stick with 4-5-1. We will surely be up for this one despite looking tired at the weekend. It a european semi final. If they can't get up for it then we will be in trouble. But of late results have been less than impressive. Let's hope we are about to pick up again.
 

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I think you'll do well to keep this one alive for the second leg. :angel:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes I think you are right. Walter will definitely play once more for the clean sheet so I think the best chance for Rangers tomorrow is that Fiorentina don't mind settling for a draw. Judging by their results this season with the exception on the PSV games they are much stronger at home.

Usually I would be wanting Rangers to go for it and end up disappointed when they don't. With the missing players though I think it is better to be cagey in this one or we could end up with another Lyon. Ferguson has been terrible this season but it's amazing how lost Rangers look without him there. Maybe it's the nagging but something is definitely amiss when he is not playing.

I think Rangers will line up like this:

-----------------Alexander

Whittaker---Cuellar-----Weir------Papac

---------------Dailly

Novo---------Davis----Hemdani--------Buffel

--------------Darcheville

Maybe that's a bit too attack minded though. Smith may put Whittaker at right midfield with Broadfoot at right back and a toss up between Novo and Buffel for the left side. Or maybe he'll bring back Amdy Faye. :eek:
 

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I'd take 0-0 right now too. I know what you're saying chivo about not fancying us to get a result in Florence, but at least we'd have a bit of time to get one or two of our players back. I remember we went to Parma on the back of a 1-1 at Ibrox and managed to score the first goal. Fair enough we went on to get pumped 3-1, but who knows what could happen.

I'd put Fiorentina on a par with Werder Bremen, but I don't think they're better than the Germans. With a full squad to choose from i'd give us some chance, but I can't see it with the injuries/suspensions and the way we've been playing recently.
 

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I'd put Fiorentina on a par with Werder Bremen, but I don't think they're better than the Germans. With a full squad to choose from i'd give us some chance, but I can't see it with the injuries/suspensions and the way we've been playing recently.
Don't expect any gifts from Frey though. God knows how Domenech can never see sense in playing him for the National Team in the qualifiers last year.
 

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Don't expect any gifts from Frey though. God knows how Domenech can never see sense in playing him for the National Team in the qualifiers last year.
I know that well enough. I've rated Frey as a top keeper for about 10 years. He's been the best French keeper in the same period. More consistent than Barthez.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That is definitely how we will play. I noticed even in Ewan Chester's comments on the official site that he said 0:0 would be a bad result but may not be enough. At this point in time it's all we can hope for given the limited options Smith has. If Fiorentina do score though Smith will have to open up and that could be disasterous on this occassion.
 

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i was feeling pretty calm about this game but the nerves have really hit now...semis always worry me more than finals and this is the biggest semi we've had in my lifetime so the nerves are about off the scale!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm still calm at the moment. I'll be more nervous at the weekend. This is obviously a massive game but I think in my own mind I've not given us much of a chance with injuries and suspensions. We really are scraping a team together which is not a good sign for a semi final in Europe. As much as I want us to win I don't think I'll be too down if we go out- not as much as I was after the Lyon game at Ibrox.

I read on FF someone saying that they think Dailly might be out tonight as he has a virus- presumably the same one that has effected Papac and Hemdani recently. If that is true then I really don't know how we are going to make up the numbers in central midfield. My other worry tonight is that if we get an injury in defence or in the middle of the midfield we really are struggling for a replacement.

If Dailly is available then the team according to the ET is this:

--------------Alaexander

Broadfoot----Weir------Cuellar----Papac

----------------Dailly

Whittaker---Davis-----Hemdani-----Novo

---------------Darcheville

if Dailly is not available then I can't see who he could put in place. He may have to move Whittaker in one and play Buffel in right midfield.
 

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I'm totally calm tbh. We've done great to get this far and it'd be some achievement to get to the final, but i'd rather win Sunday's match.

Buffel should be starting this match given our limited options. A midfield with Whittaker and Novo is asking for trouble imo.
 

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Your Euro campaign has been based on tight, low scoring home matches enhanced by away goals and tonight you met a team who were also happy with that outcome so that worked out well for you.

Dare I say this reminds me of Celtic's run to Seville. Each round they progressed I doffed my cap but felt they would probably go out next round (after a home draw on more than one occasion) and suddenly they were in the final. Prior to that I would've bet my house that a Scottish league side couldn't achieve such a feat.
 

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I'm happy with that. It's up to Fiorentina to beat us at home now. If they can do that (and they're favourites) then good luck to them. I thought it was a slightly better home performance than against Sporting. I have to say it was a typical Italian team away mentality. They should really have tried to kill us off tonight, but they didn't.
 

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given the injuries and the suspensions it was a decent result as the tie is still alive. we've really struggled going forward against even the likes of Thistle and St Johnstone without Ferguson in the middle of the park so i we were always going to find that aspect difficult when stepping up a few levels in quality of opposition. Last nights game was there to be won if we had a stronger team so that makes me a bit annoyed at the two needless suspensions Ferguson and Thomson got for the game.

Thought Broadfoot had an absolute nightmare in the first half but he came out in the 2nd half, didnt hide and had a much improved performance. Alexander didnt have alot to do but what he did have he did well - i imagine that is his first ever European game?

Fiorentina fans were good - filled the full allocation so one of the biggest European away supports this season and noisy yet friendly too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I've not got much to add as it's already been said. A result we would have taken before kick off given the squad limitations at the moment. Like TB I thought Broadfoot was rank in the first half yet again but credit to the guy for getting it together in the second. My one gripe was the substituation of Novo which for the life of me I could not understand considering not only was he our most likely route to goal at the time but the only player showing any energy. It reminded me of the Pana game at home where I thought much the same.

For me the defence was rock solid but the midfield were very poor. Whittaker, Davis and Hemdani looked well off the pace while Dailly you have to feel sorry for as he's not a midfielder. Neither keeper had anything to do in what was a bit of a bore but the nerves at this stage kick in and it's to be expected from both sides.

I'd expect Fiorentina now to go through but from our own point of view it will depend alot on which players we have available next week. If we could manage one more upset it would be great but I would be surprised if it happened this time.
 

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It's worth mentioning that I was a little surprised by how little, Mutu, contributed to the match. Did hit the target with a decent free-kick but otherwise fairly anonymous IMO.
 
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