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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll keep this one short as we'll no doubt have more to talk about the closer to kick off we get.

Sporting notched up another win at the weekend which moves them up to 4th after Setabul drew at Acamdemica. It was a good weekend for them with Benfica drawing against 10 man Boavista last night and Guimaraes throwing away the lead in the 93rd minute. It all means Sporting are only 2 points behind the 2nd and 3rd spots in the league.

Rangers increased their lead at the top of the SPL too thanks mainly to Celtic's failure to win again so will be in equally confident mood.

Sporting will fancy their chances at home against us. They've been very solid there all season and won't envisage Rangers winning there. But we don't need to. A goalless draw would take us beyond the 90 minutes but better than that a goal would put the pressure on Sporting.

Without a doubt we won't go for it unless we have to so will be playing for another 0:0 draw in our 4-5-1 formation. The good news for us is that Cousin is available and that suits us well. But the bad news outweighs the good. If we had everyone available I would fancy our chances here but Weir is going to be a big miss. Worst still though is the reports today that Cuellar may not be available due to a virus. If we don't have either of our centre backs available we really could be gubbed here. I can't even imagine what our backline would be. Possibly:

Broadfoot----Dailly----Papac----Whittaker

That would be scarey. The other alternative is Hemdani. Nothing though looks a good combination. It woud be hard enough going to Lisbon under normal circumstances but to have two Gary Caldwells in defence would be impossible.
 

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I was going to say I don't hold out much hope for this one based on how we've played in the last month, but if Cuellar doesn't play then I really feel we have no chance. The pattern of the game won't be too dissimilar to the Bremen game i'd imagine, although Bremen are obviously a better team than Sporting, so we need Cuellar. Broadfoot and Whittaker are both terrible so there's no way we can play the two of them at once!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
We've been lucky up to now that we haven't had many issues to contend with at the back as the central pairing have stayed suspension and injury free. Just typical that this happens now but it also shows how light we are there considering the china doll Webster keeps breaking down. We have cover but it's not good cover- it's make shift. Not what you want going into a European quarter final.

In saying that though it's better now than in the final league run in. If we go out here then we go out. I'd rather lose here than in the league to be honest- though it would be great to progress and keep everything alive.

Sporting are a good side but to be honest they are definitely not the best side we've played in Europe this season- even since dropping out of the Champions League. With Cousin back I thought we'd have a real chance to go through and we still might do it yet as we will set up correctly but at the back we could really be struggling. It might need Hemdani to cut things out before they get that far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think it will be a very tight match. On the downside I'm worried about our defence. As much as I like Cuellar he may not be the same with without the experience of Weir beside him, not being in 100% health and having at least one donkey protecting the flanks. On the upside I think we are capable of scoring over there and are setup to do so. If we score I think we will go through.

I don't underestimate Sporting in the least but I can't see us taking a battering. We've had two of those away this season in Europe and those were Barcelona and Bremen. As good as Sporting are I don't see them in the same class.
 

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As usual i've been pessimistic all week, but now that we're getting close to it I think we can do it. The worst-case scenario is that we go out without even having a proper go at this mob.
 

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I know. It very nearly did happen against Panathinaikos, and it would make elimination even more frustrating. Surely we can't play as deep as we did against Bremen!?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes that would have been my biggest gripe if we had lost in Greece. When we had a go we done well but if Panathinaikos hadn't scored we'd never know. We'd have quite easily played for penalties.

Tonight we really must have a go at some stage. With both Cousin and Darcheville available it would be good to see them both on the park at one stage as we haven't seen that often. Mind you be careful what you wish for as that would only happen if we are chasing the game.

I still think Sporting were there for the taking at Ibrox if we'd had a go but nothing we can do about that now. I still feel that is the case tonight regardless of where we are playing.

I'm more nervous before the old firm games to be honest. We are further in this competition than we expected and as nice as it would be to go further it is no great loss if we don't. I'm more concerned about the league games so hopefully I will enjoy this one tonight- hopefully we all will.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
No Kleber tonight? :D

Great stuff. Really well done from the team. Walter was spot on and we showed we can play football if we want to.

I thought we would miss Weir but to be honest tonight's partnetship actually worked better than at Ibrox.

Well done the Rangers. Easy! ;)
 

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We were a touch lucky at times but despite the chances and the pressure i cant remember McGregor having any saves to make - a couple of things that went straight to his hands and that was it.

I thought Cuellar was immense tonight and had one of the best defensive headers i've seen, diving towards the goal getting in front of the Sporting player and still managing to direct it away from the goals. Really really really really hope we can hold on to him this summer!
 
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