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Last Updated: Monday, 5 November 2007, 15:50 GMT
Rangers memories
By Colin Moffat

Rangers' goal heroes Willie Johnston and Colin Stein (right)
Rangers' goal heroes Willie Johnston and Colin Stein (right)
Rangers will formally mark their greatest European triumph when they visit Barcelona on Champions League duty on Wednesday.

The victorious 1972 European Cup Winners' Cup team will fly out with the present day squad to revisit the scene of their final win over Dynamo Moscow.

Having been beaten finalists in 1961 and 67, the Ibrox side made it third time lucky in the tournament with a 3-2 success.

However, the match was sadly overshadowed by scenes of violence after the game and the trophy was hastily presented to skipper John Greig deep in the bowels of the stadium, robbing the team of the chance to savour the moment.

Among the many unfortunate fashions of the Sixties and Seventies, were pitch invasions.

But few incursions from fans have resulted in the bloody scenes of mayhem that followed as hordes of Scots clashed with the Guardia Civil.

As a result, Rangers were denied the opportunity to defend the trophy as a two-year ban was reduced to one-year after an appeal.

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"It leaves a wee bit of a sour taste," Tommy McLean told BBC Sport.

"To have the presentation cancelled after such a high-profile win and then not be given the chance to defend it was tough," added the man who played wide on the right of midfield that night.

"A whistle went and the fans thought that was it but they were ushered off the pitch very quickly.

"And when the game finally did finish, the mood among supporters was of jubilation and relief because we had let a 3-0 lead slip away.

"There was a feeling of euphoria. It was not violent at all.

Tommy McLean (right) joins in the cup celebrations
Tommy McLean (right) joins in the cup celebrations

"I still can't understand why the police were as heavy-handed.

"They had cleared the pitch quickly earlier without any trouble and the later reaction was over the top."

McLean had helped Rangers see off Rennes, Sporting Lisbon, Torino and a powerful Bayern Munich side to reach the final.

But he will not be joining in with the official trip down memory lane since he is coaching on a Scottish schoolboys trip to Ireland.

The Ibrox side have not been back to the Nou Camp on competitive duty since 1972.

But Walter Smith's men managed a creditable 0-0 draw in Glasgow a fortnight ago and can reach the knockout stage of the tournament with a win in Catalonia.

"Barcelona are among the favourites to win the Champions League, so you have to be realistic and say it will be very hard playing them on their own patch," added former Morton and Motherwell manager McLean.

"When the draw was made I don't think many people fancied Rangers and to be in the position they are in is a magnificent achievement.

"You should never underestimate the heart and spirit of Scottish sides but they will need to be clever and play with their heads as well.

"They were not expected to get anything at home to Barcelona and they did, so if they can get something over there it would be a massive bonus."



SEE ALSO
McLeish wants Old Firm good news
04 Nov 07 |  Internationals
Smith happy ahead of Barca trip
03 Nov 07 |  Rangers


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