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Page last updated at 09:33 GMT, Wednesday, 14 May 2008 10:33 UK

Uefa Cup final as it happened

UEFA CUP FINAL
Rangers 0-2 Zenit FULL-TIME

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS(all times BST)

606: DEBATE
To get involved use 606 or text us on 81111 (Not all contributions can be used)

By Thomas McGuigan

2204: After a magnificent run in the Uefa Cup, including victories over Werder Bremen and Fiorentina, Rangers fell at the final hurdle.

Dick Advocaat has come back to haunt his old club, but Rangers can be proud of their European run.

Thanks to everyone who kept me company tonight, hopefully we'll soon see another Scottish club in a European final.

2157: "Absolutely amazing run by Rangers. I have said all the way through that if Rangers win or lose I would be proud of them and so should they.Thanks Walter and Ally and the boys for taking us there."
Steve in Irvine, via text on 81111

2155: "We've had a terrific tournament - it doesn't take away the disappointment, but in the end I can have no complaints."
Rangers manager Walter Smith

2150: "There was stunned silence when Zenit scored the opener and Ibrox is empty as the fans go home in utter disbelief."
BBC Sport's Liam McLeod at Ibrox

2148: You voted Igor Denisov as the best player on the pitch (7.70) Rate the players

2144: Rangers players shake hands with their opponents as they make their to collect their medals. Scotland legend Denis Law offers a few words of consolation.

2136: FULL-TIME: Zenit 2-0 Rangers Heartache for Rangers as they miss out on glory in their first European final for 36 years.

2135: GOAL Zenit 2-0 Rangers Konstatin Zyryanov's cool finish from close-range ensures Zenit will lift the Uefa Cup.

2133: Novo blazes high over the bar from eight yards. What a chance!

2132: Three minutes of stoppage time in Manchester.

2128: Last throw of the dice by Rangers. Striker Kris Boyd replaces Steven Whittaker. Can the Ibrox side pull it out the fire?

2125: With seven minutes remaining you reckon Zenit goalscorer Igor Denisov (7.70) is the best player on the pitch. Rate the players

2122: Walter Smith makes his second substitution, with Lee McCulloch coming on for Brahim Hemdani.

2119: Nacho Novo comes on for Sasa Papac - Rangers need to go for it now.

2118: Zyryanov spurns a great chance to double Zenit's lead as he blazes a great chance wide of the target.

2116: GOAL Zenit 1-0 Rangers Igor Denisov races through the heart of the Rangers defence to clip the ball under Neil Alexander and give Zenit the lead after 73 minutes.

2109: "Is this the same Zenit St Petersburg who dished out a 4-0 drubbing to Bayern Munich?"
SuperSergioRamos on 606
Join the debate on 606

2105: Rangers midfielder Steven Whittaker sees his shot cleared for a corner and Arshavin's goalbound shot is headed off the line by Sasa Papac at the other end.

2103: Zenit force two corners in quick succession. But Rangers' iron curtain around Alexander's goal holds firm.

2102: "Rangers have gone eight hours of Uefa Cup football without conceding a goal."
BBC Radio Scotland commentator John Barnes

2100: Could it be time for Walter Smith to introduce Nacho Novo? A bit of spark up front could cause Zenit some problems.

2056: Chaos in the Zenit penalty area. Darcheville has a shot saved by Malofeev and Rangers captain Barry Ferguson appeals in vain for handball by Denisov, but the referee is having none of it.

2051: "Stuff the UEFA Cup final. The Apprentice is on at 9." Damien, via text on 81111.

What would Alan Sugar say about what's being served up in Manchester? Both sides are failing tonight's task at the moment. Not sure if his sidekick Margaret would be too impressed.

2048: "The Stone Roses and New Order at half-time - the stadium DJ hasn't put a foot wrong."
BBC Sport's Colin Moffat in Manchester

2047: The second half gets under way.

2044: "There's been a bit of trouble in Manchester city centre over one of the big screens not working. Bottles have been thrown."
BBC Radio Scotland football correspondent Chick Young

2038: You reckon Zenit's Andrei Arshavin (7.75) is still the best player on show in the opening 45 minutes. For Rangers, Carlos Cuellar gets your vote (7.25) Rate the players

2036: "Am I the only one who thought that was handball? And I'm supporting Rangers."
Abroad_Magpie on 606 Join the debate on 606

2034: "If you are Walter Smith you will be confident Rangers can score in the second half."
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Murdo McLeod

2033: Rangers 0-0 Zenit Half-time at the City of Manchester Stadium, and it's goalless.

2032: Rangers fans have their hearts in their mouths when Broadfoot appears to handle in the box, but the referee awards a corner.

2029: Rangers get a free-kick 20 yards from goal - but Kevin Thomson's effort is blocked and cleared. Give us a goal, someone, please!

2025: The game is following a familar pattern for Rangers in Europe this season. Defend in numbers and wait for the right moment to score...

2022: "The Rangers fans near me are growing increasingly frustrated at their team's inability to hold on to the ball, with Brahim Hemdani coming in for some stick."
BBC Sport's Colin Moffat in Manchester

2020: The big screen meant to be showing the game in Manchester City centre isn't working. Lots of unhappy Rangers fans.

2017: "I'm worried for Rangers. They look like they have no pace at all throughout the team."
Si from Blackpool via text on 81111

2014: Anyukov stings Alexander's palms with a ferocious shot. Zenit are growing in confidence.

2008: With the Russians looking the more livelier of the two sides, you reckon Zenit's Andrei Arshavin (7.75) is the star performer in the City of Manchester Stadium. Rate the players

2007: Twenty minutes gone and Rangers seem happy to concede possession in midfield and repel Russian attacks. This could be a long night for Carlos Cuellar and co.

2005: "This will only be a good game if Zenit score and force Rangers to attack."
Anon text on 81111

2003: Tekke has a shot blocked by the Rangers defence. Worrying times for Walter Smith's side.

2001: Kirk Broadfoot sends a ball into the Zenit penalty area and I thought it was going to hit the moon before falling into Malafeev's arms. Rangers need to be sharper in possession.

1958: Rangers midfielder Kevin Thomson has clattered into a few challenges. The referee tells him to calm down or he's going in the book.

1956: "Zenit do look quite tasty already, Rangers need to keep the ball."
BristolCity_1985 on 606
Join the debate on 606

1953: Jean-Claude Darcheville squares the ball for Barry Ferguson, but the Russians clear the danger. Great start to the game.

1950: Arshavin fires a shot into the side-netting. Nervy start for Rangers and the Russians look lightening quick on the counter-attack 1945: Rangers kick-off and the 2008 Uefa Cup final is under way.

1944: "It's the Silver Fox up against the Little General."
BBC Radio Scotland commentator John Barnes

1943: "It's written in the stars tonight, Rangers to win 1-0."
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Craig Paterson

1939: "I hope it's an open and high-scoring game. I'm a neutral and expect to be entertained, well will I?"
Nameonthetrophy on 606

I'll sticky my neck out on this one mate, and predict a cracker tonight. The teams are about to come out the tunnel. Nervous looks all round!

1936: "Re 1911 far from it Billy Dodds. Most people I know want Rangers to get beat. Come on Zenit."
Graham, a Hearts fan, via text

1931: Denis Law holds the Uefa Cup aloft in the centre of the pitch. The nerves are jangling now! Not long to kick-off.

1930: "There looks to be about 90,000 Rangers fans outside the stadium - unbelievable scenes."
BBC Sport's Chris McLaughlin in Manchester

1928: "Tymoschuk impressed me at the World Cup. Whoever gets on top between him and Ferguson could go a long way to deciding the match."
Jervisd on 606
Join the debate on 606

1920: "The teams are out warming up, the stadium is filling and The Verve's Bittersweet Symphony is blaring out around the ground - it's stirring stuff."
BBC Sport's Colin Moffat in Manchester

1916: Darcheville has yet to complete 90 minutes in a Rangers jersey. Does he have the firepower to breach Zenit's defence? Will the blond-haired Tymoschuk pull the strings for the Russians in midfield?

Use our player rater to pick your man of the match at the City of Manchester stadium. Rate the players

1913: LINE-UPS - Zenit: Malafeev, Krizanac, Tekke, Arshavin, Sirl, Shirokov, Zyryanov, Faitzulin, Aniukov, Denisov, Tymoschuk. Subs: Contofalsky, Radimov, Kim, Dominguez, Ricksen, Ionov, Gorshkov.

Rangers: Alexander, Weir, Papac, Ferguson, Hemdani, Thomson, Darcheville, Broadfoot, Cuellar, Whittaker, Davis. Subs: Graeme Smith, Boyd, Novo, Adam, Dailly, McCulloch, Faye.

1911: "The country is united. Everyone wants Rangers to win tonight."
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Billy Dodds

1908: "My heart says Rangers head says Zenit. Come on the Scots!"
Craig, via text

I know what you mean Craig. I think I've changed my prediction about half a dozen times today. Nil-nil and penalties?

1902: "I'm hoping that pragmatic football wins out over flair tonight. Zenit are a good outfit but they have had the luxury of playing teams who thought they were better than them."
Bluevision on 606

1855: LINE-UPS - Zenit St Petersburg: Vyacheslav Malafeev, Alexander Anyukov, Roman Shirokov, Ivica Krizanac, Radek Sirl, Igor Denisov, Anatoly Tymoschuk, Konstantin Zyrianov, Viktor Fayzulin, Andrei Arshavin, Fatih Tekke.

The dangerman Arshavin is back for Zenit. No Fernando Ricksen in the starting 11 against his former club. Very interesting.

1852: "Re: 1835 Ha ha mine and my brothers' nicknames are 'Baz or Barry'. I think it runs in the McGuigan name nowadays!"
Ross, via text

1846: "Why isn't Novo playing?"
MiddleEasternBear on 606
Join the debate on 606

It's a strange one. BBC Radio Scotland's sport correspondent Chick Young says Kevin Thomson and Brahim Hemdani will be used as holding midfielders.

Steven Davis, Barry Ferguson and Steven Whittaker will play further forward with Jean-Claude Darcheville the lone striker.

1845: "Some fans have been running onto the pitch at the beamback at Ibrox. But the police now have everything under control."
BBC Sport's Liam McLeod at Ibrox

1840: "Manchester has always been blue. Rangers fans are just changing the shade."
Spindash on 606

1835: "Hi. Best of luck to my Dad, Derek McGuigan, who has gone to the match on his own proudly wearing his kilt. 2-1 for Gers! Your not a relative of mine are you Thomas?"
Ross McGuigan, south manchester, via text.

Not that I'm aware of, Ross. It certainly makes a change from people asking if I'm any relation to a certain boxer!

1830: "Oban Loyal won the race to have the first banner on display inside the stadium. BBC Radio Scotland commentators Billy Dodds and Craig Paterson have been beseiged for autographs, one or two even got former Celtic star Murdo MacLeod to sign their programmes."
BBC Sport's Colin Moffat in Manchester

1820: "Here is the Rangers team for tonight, but it won't be the usual 4-1-4-1 formation. Alexander, Broadfoot, Cuellar, Weir, Papac, Ferguson, Thomson, Hemdani, Davis, Whittaker, Darcheville."
BBC Radio Scotland football correspondent Chick Young.

What do you think of the team? I'm surprised that Nacho Novo hasn't been named in the starting 11 considering his recent goalscoring form.
Join the debate on 606

1810: Thanks Sarah, good evening everyone. Somebody said something about a game in Manchester tonight? Hold onto your hats and make sure you've got an ice-cream or something stronger close to hand - Blue is the colour on what promises to be a dramatic night! Give me your views on the game here

By Sarah Holt

1805: That's it for me. It has been rather exciting. My favourite Scotsman rang me this afternoon from Norway, where he won't be watching the match but will probably be pondering the meaning of life by a fjord. I've just spoken to another superior Scot, Thomas McGuigan. He's at the Glasgow HQ and will take you through the finer footballing details of the Uefa Cup final.

See you Sunday for the live MotoGP.

1755: Fantastic scenes in the centre of Manchester now where the packed masses of Rangers fans greet the announcer's "Good afternoon Glasgow," with huge roars. It's estimated that there are now around 100,000 fans in Manchester - most of them without tickets and watching the game on the big screens.

1741: I couldn't go without including this lovely bit of banter on 606.

"Was thinking about venturing into the city centre to watch the match, what's the booze situation like at the Tesco metro on Market Street? Does anyone know?"
Joebaia on 606

"Apparently all dry. I'm staying clear of the city centre. Unfortunately I've got an exam tomorrow morning, I just hope everyone clears off by then!"
Ultras on 606

1738: An important news update for Rangers fans from Scotland HQ:

"Strathclyde police have issued a message warning fans that Ibrox is already at its 25,000 capacity for the match beamback. And they have warned that no more fans should make their way to the club's stadium in Glasgow.

"Every seat was taken by 1730 and club officials say no more fans will be let in."

1725: (re. 1652) "Sorry to say this but a Russian has won today, Marat Safin beat Tomas Berdych, therefore Andy's win makes it 1-1."
Tjgills on 606

1720: "Just got inside Ibrox. Supposedly there's 25,000 allowed in but there was at least 50,000 outside. The atmosphere is absolutely electric!"
Anonymous via text

1715: Not long to go now until the serious business starts at 1945 and I hand over to Scotland HQ but first some interesting news about Rangers and Zenit's preparations ahead of the final.

"Rangers have hardly had a day off since they reached the final as they've played three Scottish Premier League matches.

"But since they beat Bayern Munich on 1 May, Zenit have done absolutely nothing and all their preparations have been with this final in mind. So will the test of stamina tell on Rangers towards the end of the match?"
BBC Sport's Joe Wilson

1652: And it's 1-0 to the Scots. Well kind of. Andy Murray has beaten Gilles Simon in the second round of the Hamburg Masters.

A man at work says Murray is a Hibs fan and therefore he may not have any interest in the Rangers match but I stand by my comment that this helps build momentum for Scotland - unless any Russian tennis players have also won today. Hmmmm.

1637: "I really hope that Rangers win even though I am a fervent Aberdeen fan. Come on the Scots."
Ronnie on 606

1630: "I just saw a Rangers fan offering someone 10 for a can of lager. The city must have run out of alcohol and it's only 4 o'clock."
Philip in Manchester via text

1607: Here he is - our man Colin, who is surviving the hordes in Manchester.

"The Albert Square and Piccadilly Gardens fanzones are bursting at the seams! There are a few early casualties but just five arrests reported so far and the party atmosphere has cranked up a notch or two.

"The police estimate the travelling hordes at 80,000 but there are still buses arriving.

"Meanwhile, the long march to the City of Manchester Stadium has started for those lucky enough to have tickets - and a few more hoping to get lucky.

Man City Safety Officer Peter Fletcher expects 20-25,000 Rangers fans to attend. Not bad, considering the ground holds 44,000 and the club were given an official allocation of just 13,000.

"As a footnote, can I just add that there is no place in football for the jester's hat."
BBC Sport's Colin Moffat in Manchester

And we presume Colin is not 'hoping to get lucky' himself because he has a media pass for the game.

1559: "I was at the gig as well. You forgot to mention half of Oasis! Come on Rangers"
Anonymous via text
Hmmm, yes but I didn't want to sound like a total loser. And anyway, it wasn't the Gallagher half.

1550: "I told my wife I was working in Aberdeen."
A confession from Brian (actually in Manchester) on BBC Radio 5 Live

1540: I promised you some more chat from ageing pop stars and you've been waiting long enough. Wet Wet Wet crooner Marti Pellow has gone on record, well The Daily Record actually, to say: "It's a wonderful day for Scottish football."

I'm also going to throw in the fact that I was at a gig in Kilburn last night where Mani, the former Stone Roses bassist, and a Chemical Brother were hanging out.

I'm not sure who Mani will be supporting tonight though he is in, apparently Glasgow-based, electro-rockers Primal Scream. BUT he did once say the Roses would only reform after "Man City won the European Cup". And he's a Manchester United fan, so 90s indie kids can stand down.

1525: Hello, Uefa Cup fans I missed you! But I'm back to take you through the next couple of hours or so until Thomas in our Glasgow office takes you into the match and through the 90 minutes of action.

By Julian Shea

1510: "Thanks Rangers fans! Our bosses are sending us home early because of the mayhem that is Manchester. Apparently it's happening all over the city!"
anonymous, via text

1505: "Zenit will score goals as they have a great perestroikas."
Ellis in London, via text

Perestroikas - pair o'strikers - d'you see? That joke has been texted in by several people, so can we please move on now? Thank you.

1505: "Rangers to win 1-0 tonight, Fernando Ricksen to score an own goal. You heard it here first."
belgar06, via 606

1500: At university I knew a Rangers fan called Craig Smith who was probably the most passionate fan of any club I have ever known. He lived near Manchester so I'd imagine he'll be there tonight!

And just in case anyone's thinking "Hold on, I think I know him," his brother Graeme swam for Scotland in the Commonwealth Games.

1455: "Interesting fact about something Russia and Scotland have in common. Their love for Irn-bru! Outside Scotland, Irn-Bru sales are highest in Russia."
mor, via 606

And St Andrew is the patron saint of both countries - along with Sicily, Greece and Romania, apparently. You learn something new every day.

1450: I'm paraphrasing so as not to put you off your lunch, but Cristianoisjustperfect on 606 has just informed us that some fans in the area already seem to be suffering the effects of too much, er, sun. By which I don't really mean the weather.

Steady on boys and girls, it's going to be a long day, so you might want to pace yourselves.

1442: "I've just seen 4 Zenit fans wearing flags and scarves on the london underground.....I didn't like to point out the final is being played 200 miles away."
anonymous, via text

When you have to cross time zones for a league match, presumably a mere piffling 200 miles is a minor detail.

1440: Anyone doing some pre-European championships research tonight might be interested to know that there are six Zenit players in Russia's provisional squad.

1435: "If you haven't got your beer before you get to the city centre, you may want to stop off elsewhere to stock up. 3 well known supermarkets on deansgate are drier than the sahara desert in the midday sun."
Mike in Deansgate, via text

1435: "Zenit sounds like an insurance company - I have to say I have never heard of them."
citymikeok, via 606

1430: "Your Statto's confused. European Cup? Rangers have never won the European Cup. They've tried - more times than any other team. But they've never won it."
Ellives, via text

Apologies, Ellives, I meant European trophy win.

1425: "I think it's time a Zenit fan joined in. Hello everyone! I think we can be optimistic about the game - we'done great in Europe this year".
DE, London, via text

No-one has ever called me the Sheamanator, by the way, but there we go.

By Sarah Holt

1421: Speaking of Zen, I'm just going to leave Uefa Cup duties in the hands of my colleague Julian Shea aka Sheamanator while I have a break and eat rice cakes. Back soon.

1417: "The longer the game goes on at 0-0, the more I'd fear for Rangers. While their game plan will undoubtedly revolve around keeping it tight defensively, I watched Zenit's win over Bayern and they are a brilliant outfit in an attacking sense."
Caks1999 on 606

1405: I feel as though I'm neglecting Zenit a little bit. But if you want to gen up on your Zen then my colleague Tom can enlighten you.

Rangers and Zenit have met before, which is probably not surprising given that the Russian champions are managed by former Gers boss Dick Advocaat. The two teams played a friendly at Ibrox in 2006, a game won by Zenit 4-1 when Rangers were managed by Paul Le Guen.

Was it me or did a lot of what I wrote there rhyme?

1350: Thoughts are turning to batter again.

"Deep fry your Shashlyk! It's like a kebab."
Annoyed Dundee fan via text

"We're gonna deep fry your Marx bars?"
Anonymous (and rightly so) via text

1335: BBC 5 Live's Juliette Ferrington reckons there are 4,000 Rangers fans packed into Piccadilly Gardens, where the big screen will be showing the big match this evening.

Meanwhile, our man has had a gander at the Manchester Evening News which is emblazoned with two headlines for each set of visiting fans.

"The message for the Rangers fans is "Hullawrerr The Bears," which is basically "Hello there" in a Glaswegian burr. I've no idea what the Russian one means, though.

It's a pleasant, sunny day in Manchester but maybe it's just as well the Rangers fans have been denied a continental excursion since the national dress of nylon football top, kilt and novelty wig is not best suited to warmer climes."
BBC Sport's Colin Moffat in Manchester

Apropos of nothing, the Manchester Evening News website also has a video of Rick Astley talking about his life and Manchester. Awesome. And I'll have more from popstars of yesteryear in a bit.

1323: Anonymous at 1315 has kick-started our first frivolous debate of the day. Hurray. It really was about time. And so, more suggestions on Russian food that the Scots could deep-fry.

"How about beetroot"
Adrian and Steve (not a couple) via text

"Blini (small pancake) are Russian. Sure u could deep fry them with cavier on top."
Bob via text

1315: "In Piccadilly Gardens on my lunch break, a few chants of "We're gonna deep fry your vodka!" Anybody know of a two syllable staple Russian food item?"
Anonymous via text

1305: BBC Sport's James Pearce is out and about in Piccadilly Gardens and he's been mixing with the Rangers fans, most of whom don't have tickets. He's been trying to find out how much tickets are selling for and spoke to one fan who paid 7,000 for seven. Seven grand eh?

1240: If I am the David Baddiel of the BBC Sport office for today and the man to my left is the Frank Skinner (he's been looking at photos of female Rangers fans) then handily the man opposite my desk is doing a sterling job as Statto. He has dug up more news on Rangers and penalties. Here's goes:

"Another bit of spot-kick trivia for those analysing the tea leaves for omens.

On the way to their last European trophy win in Barcelona in 1972, Rangers drew 6-6 on aggregate with Sporting Lisbon, and the game went to a shoot-out which they lost. But after the game Rangers checked the rule book and it turned out extra-time goals counted double, so the shoot-out should never have taken place. Rangers were re-instated, and went on to lift the trophy.

Fast forward 36 years, and they've played Sporting Lisbon and also been involved in a shoot-out (admittedly a more straightforward one) on the way to this final."

1222: "If Rangers go behind tonight, we'll really see what they're made of. I fancy Ferguson and Davis to play blinders, with the back four to give us a solid core. Novo has to start after his goals at the weekend."
AndyStas on 606

1210: "The queue of Gers fans stretches all the way from the Mancunian Way right down the M602 down the M60 and all the way down the M61 back to Chorley!! If you think the City Centre is busy now just wait till all these lot arrive! My prediction Rangers 2-1 Zenit - Barry Ferguson with the winner in the 89th minute!"
Matt from Manchester via text

1148: Gosh, that was two minutes wasn't it? Sorry. The answer was penalties, penalties, penalties. This season Rangers won the CIS Cup final on penalties and have reached both the Scottish and Uefa Cup finals after shoot-out wins.

Walter Smith's men edged past Fiorentina 4-2 on pens in the semi-final after two goalless legs in Glasgow and Florence. The question is will the final come down to spot-kicks?

Rangers have scored just five times en route to the final - and no team has ever made it to the showdown with fewer.

Zenit, on the other hand, arrive in the final after seeing off Marseille and Villarreal before sticking four goals past Bayer Leverkusen and four-time European champions Bayern Munich.

So, will Rangers dig in, defend and try to stifle Zenit or will the Russians come good with their counter-attacking game?

1146: What P-word best describes Rangers this season? I'll get back to you in just one minute.

1130: "I work in the Bank of New York offices in Piccadilly Gardens and I can tell you the atmosphere is unbelievable! There are guys playing cricket on stilts!
Anonymous via text

1120: Fears of an invasion from the north could well materialise in Manchester as around 100,000 Rangers fans are expected to make the 215-mile trip from Glasgow. My latest figures, ahem, show 13,000 of them have tickets with the others heading down for the "atmosphere," or beer and banter.

There are two giant screens in the city where Rangers fans can watch the game, one in Albert Square and the other in Piccadilly Gardens. There are also big screens at Ibrox for fans who have decided to stay at home.

And Zenit fans aren't being left out of it either. There's also a giant screen set up for them in Manchester too; and the figures say they've also been allocated 13,000 tickets in the 44,000-capacity stadium. So that's quite a lot of spares for the neutrals then.

1110: "Rangers have shown throughout the season that they have a great team spirit and that will see us win the UEFA cup. The butterflies have hit in already, c'mon the Gers!"
InWalterWeTrust on 606

1105: "I live in Manchester and there are Rangers fans in every hotel you drive past. There's a real party atmosphere around the city, and we are going to watch the match in Stockport. Maybe my team Aston Villa can get there one day - we can all dream."
Jon in Manchester via text

1100: First report in from our man in Manchester, who was anticipating scenes of madness.

"I've just been through Albert Square (no, not that one) and it's filling up already with Rangers fans. The world's biggest game of keepy-uppy is going on under the gaze of two statues of civic leaders John Bright and Oliver Heywood - whenever one of these two gets a header a huge roar goes up in the square. Fans aren't allowed to take their own alcohol into the square but the bars opened at 10am and needless to say they're doing a brisk trade."
BBC Sport's Colin Moffat in Manchester

1045: An early shout on a bit of team news; Rangers midfielder Kevin Thomson has come through a late fitness test and declared himself fit for tonight's match.

Thomson trained last night with the rest of the squad at Eastlands and is expected to play tonight if there's no reaction to his foot injury. The 23-year-old's so keen to play he actually said: "Wild horses won't hold me back now".

1030: A week-long European sojourn officially starts here; with the Uefa Cup final between Zenit St Petersburg and Rangers.

While the heavyweight Champions League bout between Manchester United and Chelsea looms on the horizon this match in Manchester is by no means on the undercard.

Rangers are going for their first European silverware for 36 years while Zenit have already broken new ground by reaching their first European final.

I'm so giddy that I've spent most of the day singing songs with a Scottish theme, while my colleague piped up with his version of "I'm So Excited" by The Pointer Sisters.

Let's keep the atmosphere simmering nicely throughout the day with your texts and 606 comments.

While I'll do my best to keep you up to date with all the latest news and views.


see also
Zenit St Petersburg 2-0 Rangers
14 May 08 |  Europe
Rangers fall at final hurdle
14 May 08 |  Europe
Uefa Cup final photos
14 May 08 |  Football
Rangers player profiles
13 May 08 |  Rangers
Who are Zenit?
13 May 08 |  Rangers
Advocaat's Rangers legacy
13 May 08 |  Rangers


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