Smith Can't See Rangers Lifting UEFA Cup

Last updated : 02 April 2008 By Ed_ScottishFitba

A Rangers man from the past, Dave Smith, insists it is "madness" to talk of the current side emulating his generations' European success. Smith was part of the team who knocked out the Rangers Thursday opponents Sporting Lisbon on their way to lifting the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1972. Ibrox is the venue for the first leg of the UEFA Cup quarter-final that could see Rangers get closer to lifting a European Trophy again. But Smith has seen enough of Rangers this season to know that over-confidence could prove dangerous for Walter Smith's men. He said: "Talk about winning the trophy is madness. It's too early, even if they win against Sporting Lisbon. I go to a lot of Rangers games and Rangers haven't played well in Europe. They have got results and results are what matters but performances have not been impressive. When the game comes around they have to do what they are good at, work for each other and graft. There are no easy games for Rangers, or any club, in Europe. Rangers are not in a position to expect to beat any team in a European quarter-final. Walter will know they have got to work but the chance is there for them. They shouldn't expect to win but they shouldn't be scared. They are playing for Rangers, Rangers shouldn't be scared of any team."

After dropping out at the Champions League group stages, Rangers have knocked out Panathinaikos and Werder Bremen in the UEFA Cup. They survived an all out attack in Germany to claim a 2-1 aggregate victory over Bremen. Former sweeper and midfielder Smith believes such a winning and determined will to win could see them through despite a lack of flair. He said: "
They are winning games and a winning team breeds success. If you are winning, you expect to win. Once you start to win, players get more confidence from that and are inclined to try things they wouldn't normally do. If you are on a winning streak it doesn't matter how you are winning."

Smith has painful but ultimately happy memories of 36 years ago when a muddled referee confused the result against Sporting Lisbon. The Portuguese thought they had won when they had won the penalty shoot-out after a 6-6 aggregate draw. It was only when the officials were reminded of the newly-introduced away goals rule that Rangers were awarded the tie thanks to their three away goals. Smith said: "
I took one of the penalties and missed. I got told I took it twice but I can't remember that. I remember the goalkeeper moving before the penalties were taken. So I ran up and stopped and he dived and I put it in the other corner - but it hit the post. We thought we were out and suddenly found out we were through and everyone's happy. It was a strange ending. These days that wouldn't happen, referees know all the rules. It was a funny sort of game, I had just recovered from a broken leg and Ronnie MacKinnon suffered a broken leg. It was quite a difficult situation."

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