Dejan Stankovic starts Rangers Europa League mind games as Red Star boss calls on Borussia Dortmund precedent


Red Star boss Dejan Stankovic watched side put in the perfect preparation for the Europa League showdown against Rangers – then claimed the Ibrox giants are huge favorites.

The Serbian champions were celebrating a milestone just like Rangers at the weekend as they marked their 77th birthday in style when their infamous Delije fans group unleashed a spectacular fireworks display inside their Marakana Stadium while their hammering of bottom side Novi Pazar was still going on.

Red Star cruised to a 5-0 win that they could have easily doubled if they hadn’t relaxed after storming into a four-goal lead inside the first quarter of the match.

Classy Serbian international Aleksandar Katai scored a hat-trick with goals from Montenegro international Mirko Ivanic and prolific Norwegian Ohi Omoijuanfo in a one-sided route.

Former Inter Milan and Lazio star Stankovic – the only man to have played at the World Cup Finals for three countries – has been impressed with Rangers’ run to this stage of the competition and was full of praise for their win against Borussia Dortmund in the last round.



Red Star Belgrade warmed up for Rangers with a thumping win over Novi Pazar

And he expects a tough night in Scotland on Thursday.

He said: “First of all I would like to congratulate Rangers on their 150th birthday celebrations.

“We are satisfied with that win because we are coming to Glasgow happy within ourselves after a win like that. I hope we can get a good result at Ibrox. What’s important for me is to set it up for the second leg in the Marakana.

See also  Lanarkshire community blossoms in new green initiative as 70 new trees are planted

“We are very happy with the display because it gave us the ideal way to prepare for playing Rangers.

“I had an opportunity to take some of my important players off early to rest them for this week’s game because the match was won at an early stage.



Dejan Stankovic, Head Coach of Crvena Zvezda
Dejan Stankovic, Head Coach of Crvena Zvezda

“So in every sense, this was a great day for us. We celebrated our birthday and a win.

“I know a lot of Rangers players. I know they have a really good squad, but I don’t like singing any of them out.

“I admit I don’t know what kind of team Rangers will put out on Thursday because they have had a lot of games, just like us and they are involved in a tight championship race too.

“Rangers are very strong defensively and they are also very effective on the counter-attack as they showed against Borussia Dortmund.

“They allowed Dortmund to have a lot of the ball, but the way they counter-attacked them killed them off.

“This Europa League has thrown up a lot of surprises. Rangers weren’t expected to beat Dortmund, but they did.



James Tavernier celebrates the opening goal of the second leg between Rangers and Dortmund

“We won’t be expected to beat Rangers on Thursday, but we will try to surprise them just as they did in the last round.

“But of course, I have to be realistic and admit that considering Rangers are at home, it will be really, really hard for us.”

Novi Pazar were extremely limited opposition, but certainly, Red Star attack at breakneck speed and Guelor Kanga linked up well with Omoijuanfo and El Fardou Ben Nabouhane in an attacking sense.

See also  Official who wrote Covid rules admits having 'boozy' leaving bash in new parties scandal

Omoijuanfo scored his 32nd goal in just 37 appearances this season and although 28 of them were for Molde, he’s now netted four goals in five games for Red Star since his arrival in the winter transfer window,

He’s behind only Bayern Munich legend Robert Lewandowski in the European Golden Shoe race and the 28-year-old will be a huge danger to Rangers.

Red Star handed free entry to all their supporters as a thank you for the backing they gave them in last week’s Eternal Derby win against Partizan Belgrade where 45,000 packed into the Marakana and to celebrate their milestone.

However, on a freezing cold afternoon in the Balkans, only a few thousand of their fans bothered to turn up for this routine win in the huge bowl of a stadium. Mind you, what a noise they made.

Where Red Star will have to do work is on repairing the away section of the old stadium after Partizan hooligans well and truly left their calling card last week. Just about every seat in the south stand was wrecked or ripped out entirely although Red Star chiefs insisted yesterday it would be fully repaired in time for the visit of Rangers fans.

But by far the biggest entertainment of the afternoon came in the 77th minute when those fans produced that stunning fireworks display inside the stadium – while the game was going on – to celebrate their birthday.

And they gave notice to Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men that they will be a tough nut to crack.

See also  2030 Agenda: The place of humanitarian action in Spanish cooperation | Expert Network | future planet




www.dailyrecord.co.uk

Related Posts

George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.