Rangers out of Champions League before it begins
In keeping with time honoured tradition, Rangers succeeded in getting themselves knocked out of the Champions League before the competition has even begun - and boy how they did it.
August 4th, 2011
A hilarious second leg in Sweden saw Rangers slump out of the Champions League at the third qualifying round in 2-1 aggregate defeat to Malmo, meaning that they now have to concentrate on Mickey Mouse competitions like the Scottish Premier League and the Europa League qualifiers.
The manner in which Ally McCoist’s men failed to get as far as such footballing superpowers as Cypriot champions APOEL FC or Belarusian giants FC BATE Borisov was perhaps the most entertaining for television viewers, with the best that Scotland has to offer seeing two of their players sent-off in Sweden.
Fans didn’t have to wait long for the hilarity to ensue, with Steven Whittaker being sent off for picking up the ball and throwing it towards Jimmy Durmaz’s head (although the ball actually hit his shoulder, but Durmaz naturally grabbed his face in agony). Personally, I haven’t seen that level of accuracy since Chris Mitchell did a similar thing to Adam Collins on the school playground – although I was eight years old at the time.
It looked for a second that Rangers might actually turn around their 1-0 reverse from the first leg, with Nikica Jelavic’s levelling the tie in the 23rd minute but in true Rangers style, it was never going to run smoothly.
There was plenty of tension throughout the tie, with McCoist generally not happy with the Russian referee and he was even less happy just after the hour mark when Madjid Bougherra appeared to elbow Malmo’s Dardan Rexhepi on the back of the head during an aerial challenge. Needless to say, he got second dibs on the rubber duck in the bathroom.
Jiloan Hamad ended Rangers’ hopes in the 80 minutes, leaving them looking forward to a Europa League qualifier against a side that we’ll have never heard of.
“The two sendings-off cost us dearly,” McCoist expertly summarised afterwards, adding “I really am disappointed.”
It gets worse for Rangers, with qualification to the group stages of the Champions League being earmarked by the Ibrox board as ‘Plan A’ for paying off their reportedly massive debts. We’re guessing that ‘Plan B’ either involves a fire-sale of players or a trip to Cash Converters.