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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 October, 2003, 17:10 GMT 18:10 UK
Fans in cash boost for city
Manchester United fans
Manchester United fans have descended on Glasgow
Businesses in Glasgow have been reaping the benefits of Rangers and Manchester United's Champions League clash in the city.

With the English and Scottish football champions meeting at Ibrox in the first of two European clashes, there were indications of a big financial win for travel companies, hotels and bookies.

About 5,000 United fans were expected to travel north for the first leg on Wednesday evening, with the teams due to meet again at Old Trafford on Tuesday, 4 November.

Duncan Tannahill of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce said there were short and longer-term benefits.

Rangers and Manchester United fans predict a great game

He said: "Clearly when a large number of people descend on the city they're spending money in restaurants, bars, tourist attractions, shops and if they're staying overnight there are hotel beds being booked.

"The second benefit is the fact that these major international games receive huge television audiences, so Glasgow is being seen in a very good light as a thriving, vibrant, modern city and I think there's a long-term benefit just by putting Glasgow on the map.

"The third benefit is the feelgood factor Glaswegians get if their teams are doing well and if that helps to boost morale and confidence in the city that also helps the vibrancy of the city in the long-term."

Bookies said they were busy prior to kick-off, with William Hill revealing that it had pulled in as much money in bets on the game as it did on Grand National day.

The match has been hailed as one of the biggest British football fixtures in years, with the winners of the Scottish Premier League and the English Premiership going head-to-head in their quest for a place in the next round of the tournament.

Alex McLeish
Alex McLeish manages Scottish champions Rangers
As with all big games, detailed preparations have been required, with officers from the Strathclyde force responsible for handling policing on Wednesday evening.

A spokeswoman would not comment on the number of extra police being deployed but said: "We are used to handling big matches here in Glasgow.

"We had a number of European fixtures last year which saw fans from English clubs travelling north and we have had other big games including the regular Old Firm encounters.

"Club stewards will be handling the crowds at the grounds and our colleagues in British Transport Police will be handling supporters coming in via the trains," she said.

Chartered flights carrying United fans touched down during the day and supporters' trains, with British Transport Police on board, also rolled in.

Matthew Reid, 21, a trainee solicitor from Doncaster, was one Manchester United fan who flew into Glasgow.

He said: "I think this is going to be a real battle of wills. Rangers showed a poor performance against Motherwell on Sunday.

"It's the first time I've been to Ibrox and I must admit I am looking forward to the atmosphere, although it might be slightly daunting for the players."

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