Friday, 6 May 2011

Rangers - Ibrox Stadium

4th August 1999

Rangers 3-0 FC Haka

Tickets to Ibrox were often difficult to find during the 1990s, and anyway I did not much fancy sitting with a group of Rangers fans watching the Teddy Bears take apart some under-funded, under-supported provincial side.  Nor, come to that, did I feel I wanted to sit in the away section at Ibrox, watching the over-funded and over-supported Teddy Bears dismantle a provincial side.  

A suitable compromise, I felt, would be to visit Ibrox on a European night.  It was, after all, part of my self-imposed pact with the Football Gods that I would support Rangers (or Celtic) whenever they competed in Europe.

Even with the slightly silly modern hat, the exterior
of Archibald Leitch's main stand at Ibrox still exudes class.

The big screen in the corner would show footage of the Pamplona Bull Run,
ending with the message "Avoid The Rush"
- exorting the faithful to go for their pies etc early.

An ideal opportunity occurred early in season 1999/2000 when Rangers hosted Finnish side FC Haka in a Champions League qualifying round tie.  With Rangers having already won 4-1 in Finland, I guessed tickets should be relatively easy to come by for this tie.  And so it proved – simply turning up on the night and loitering around outside Ibrox, I was soon inundated with offers of tickets.

Rangers, somewhat perversely, looked rather nervy in the opening first quarter of an hour (or it could just have been complacency), and twice central defender Lorenzo Amoruso gave the ball away in silly areas, which more accomplished opponents would have punished.  But once Rod WALLACE shot Rangers in front in the 15th minute, the match settled down into a training session.  Jonatan JOHANSSON scored a second after 28 minutes, with Gabriel AMATO’s header completing the scoring with 24 minutes remaining.  

Thus Rangers progressed with a 7-1 aggregate win.

Panorama of Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow - damn that bloody pillar.

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