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Page last updated at 09:36 GMT, Friday, 2 May 2008 10:36 UK

Rangers can be legends

Kevin Thomson and Neil Alexander celebrate reaching the Uefa Cup final
Rangers won a nerve-shredding penalty shoot-out to reach the final

Having reached the Uefa Cup final, the Rangers class of 2008 stand on the brink of legendary status, according to SFA chief executive Gordon Smith.

"This is going to be the biggest game of their careers," the former Rangers midfield star told BBC Sport.

"Over the years at Rangers they get so used to winning league titles but the one team that is remembered is the 1972 side that won the Cup Winners' Cup.

"These players now have the chance to become legends at the club."

Smith, who joined Rangers in 1977, helped the club win a domestic treble in the first of his three seasons at Ibrox.

And the current crop at Rangers remain on course to go one better, having won the CIS Cup and reached the final of the Scottish Cup, while their SPL challenge is very much alive and kicking.

In a game where money talks, there is still a place for grit, determination and sheer will to win
Craig Paterson
former Rangers defender & BBC Sport pundit

"It's tremendous for a Scottish club to reach a European final," added Smith.

"Celtic achieved it in 2003 and now Rangers have managed to do it.

"It's a major boost for our league. Our co-efficient is improved when teams go on a good run.

"But our standing in the game is the main thing.

"Everyone will take notice since it was quick a shock when you consider Bayern Munich and Fiorentina were the losing semi-finalists.

"Rangers can now look forward to the final with Zenit St Petersburg and when they won in 1972 it was a Russian side, Dynamo Moscow, they played too."

Rangers fans react to their team's win

Rangers will face former manager Dick Advocaat at the City of Manchester Stadium on 14 May.

And the Russian league winners, who destroyed Bayern Munich 5-1 on aggregate, may have to work hard to break down Walter Smith's stubborn side.

"When it aint broke, don't fix it," former Rangers defender Craig Paterson told BBC Sport.

"It will be 4-1-4-1 and they will defend as if their lives depend on it. It's been the formation that has produced the goods.

"That's 12 shut-outs in 18 European games this season.

"It's unbelievable. In a game where money talks at the top level, there is still a place for grit, determination and sheer will to win.

MY SPORT: DEBATE

"To be heading for Manchester against Dick Advocaat is just a magnificent story.

"These players have produced so much over the season and they still have everything to play for.

"Let's just hope they can dredge up another eight big performances. Six in the league and two cup finals to come.

"I know the league is the Holy Grail for most of the fans but the chance to win a European competition is probably a bigger draw for the manager and the players."




see also
Fiorentina 0-0 Rangers (0-0)
01 May 08 |  Europe
Smith joy over shoot-out victory
01 May 08 |  Rangers
Uefa Cup photos
01 May 08 |  Europe


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