Scots’ broth a bit rich for Qq Online England

 

 

They came, they saw, they conquered Manchester.

 

But the first Scottish invasion of England since Bonnie Prince Charlie’s in 1745 ended in tears once again.

 

Rangers were deservedly beaten 2-0 in the Qq Online UEFA Cup Final by the sleek Russians of Zenit St Petersburg, coached by former ‘Gers manager Dick Advocaat.

 

Zenit took 72 minutes to unlock the stubborn Rangers defence, but it was no more than they deserved for their skilful play, which had demolished Bayern Munich 5-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals.

 

The Glaswegians should console themselves with reaching the final in the first place, after dispatching superior opposition such as Sporting Lisbon and Fiorentina on the way thanks to Walter Smith’s shrewd tactics.

 

Once more, the UEFA Cup looked decidedly second best to the Champions League however. Since the second, third and even fourth-best teams in each country have won passsge to the CL, the UEFA Cup has lost a lot of its shine. Its interminable group stages are redolent of the misguided experiment taken by the Champions League in the early 1990s.

 

What made this final go down in history was instead the violence outside the stadium pre and post-match.

 

It is hard to recall the last time a British city-centre witnessed such distressing scenes of football-related trouble, such have been the leaps in improving the game’s image since the dark days of the 1980s. Perhaps the riot in Trafalgar Square in London after England were knocked out of Euro ’96 was the last.

 

There might have been over 100,000 well-behaved Rangers supporters in Manchester, but their club’s whole reputation was sullied by the few hundred who decided to get violent after a big screen failed to work. To cite that as an excuse for lobbing missiles, smashing cars, looting shops and attacking policemen was ludicrous but several fans unbelievably tried to justify the prolonged violence.

 

The dynamite was certainly sitting there primed given the numbers of fans, warm weather and the fact that Glaswegians are tough by nature, are fond of the odd …