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Last Updated: Monday, 13 August 2007, 10:24 GMT 11:24 UK
When Red Star routed Rangers

By Julian Taylor

Happy times for Red Star Belgrade with the European Cup in 1991
Happy times for Red Star Belgrade with the European Cup in 1991
Rangers are just one tantalising step away from joining Europe's elite in this season's Champions League.

Manager Walter Smith will be hoping his new-look side can impose themselves on the competition in which rivals Celtic did so well last season, reaching the last 16.

Standing in their way are Red Star Belgrade, or to give them their alternative title, FK Crvena Zvezda.

The Serbian outfit are traditionally synonymous with old-style Eastern Bloc efficiency and their illustrious history was crowned with a European Cup success in 1990/91.

Rangers, who had lifted the Scottish title the previous season, were among their victims, losing to Red Star in the second round.

They coasted through a first-round tie, beating Maltese minnows Valetta 10-0 on aggregate, while Red Star defeated Grasshoppers Zurich 5-2 over two legs.

As it turned out, the victory over the Swiss club sparked a memorable season for the red and white half of Yugoslavia's capital as they made it all the way to the final and celebrated a penalty shoot-out win over Marseille in Bari.

European Cup, second round first leg
Date: 24 October 1990
Scorers: Brown og 7, Prosinecki 66, Pancev 74
Att: 82,500
Red Star Belgrade: Stodjanovic, Radinovic, Marovic, Sabanadzovic, Belodidic, Jajdosk, Prosinecki, Stocic, Pancev, Jugovic, Binic
Rangers: Woods, Stevens, Munro, Gough, Spackman, Brown, Steven, Ferguson, Walters, Johnston, Huistra (McCoist)

The Ibrox men were particularly unfortunate to be paired with Red Star that year, with assistant boss Smith, returning from a spying mission, assuring manager Graeme Souness that their opponents were the real deal.

Sadly for Rangers, those pre-match fears proved to be no exaggeration, as they fell victim to a 4-1 aggregate master class.

With a 3-0 victory from the first leg in Belgrade, the 'Crveno-beli' demonstrated their power against what was a strong Rangers line-up containing a string of experienced internationals, such as Chris Woods, Richard Gough, Trevor Steven, Maurice Johnston and Ally McCoist.

The Light Blues got off to the worst possible start, with John Brown deflecting the ball into his own net, before the sublime Robert Prosinecki and Darko Pancev completed a miserable night behind the Iron Curtain for the Scots.

That defeat was to be Souness' last attempt at leading the Glasgow club to European glory, with Smith taking over the reins shortly before the end of the campaign, steering Rangers to another Scottish Premier League title.

The Serbs' top performers, meanwhile, were regularly on the radar of Italian and Spanish clubs, the much-travelled Prosinecki, for instance, earning a lucrative move to Real Madrid.

Stadion Crvena Zvezda, Belgrade
Belgrade's Stadion Crvena Zvezda, is also known as the Marakana
Red Star of 2007 are a pale shadow of that European Cup-winning vintage, before the break-up of Yugoslavia, and they earned their date with Rangers by scraping past Estonians Levadia Tallin in the first qualifying round.

The 25-times domestic champions will hope that new manager Milorad Kosanovic - who replaces the recently sacked Bosko Djurovski - can conjure up the spirit of 1991 if the Serbs are to rekindle memories of a sweeter age.

Rangers will aim to account for Kosanovic's men at Ibrox before travelling to the 55,000-capacity Stadion Crvena Zvezda (commonly known as the "Marakana") with no little trepidation.

While their glamour in European terms may have faded over the years, Smith will ensure that Rangers dismiss Red Star at their peril.

Rangers v Red Star Belgrade
13 Aug 07 |  Europe
Alan Hansen's column
13 Aug 07 |  Europe


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