Stand by for Rangers detractors and their contrived nonsense in denying a Europa League miracle – Hugh Keevins


It is now a fact of life that death can be a source of inspiration.

Rangers’ posthumous acknowledgment of gratitude to Ibrox kitman Jimmy Bell proves that to be the case.

Perspective is, though, prohibited in the narrow-minded world of mutual loathing inhabited by some Celtic and Rangers fans.

But they have to be ignored – and giving credit where it is due is a gesture that has to be respected.

Especially in the wake of Rangers’ win over RB Leipzig and in light of their Europa League Final appearance against Eintracht Frankfurt.

European endings are for the likes of them and not for us in general terms.

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There have only ever been three winning clubs from Scotland in European finals.

A trio spread over 55 years – or one every 18 years and four months, if you want to be pedantic.

I remember the last time Rangers won a European trophy.

In 1972, the country was still getting used to decimalisation, introduced the year before and responsible for removing pounds, shillings and pence.

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Anyone who bought a pint in the pub to watch Rangers play Moscow Dynamo in Barcelona would still have been trying to work out what it would have cost in ‘old money’.

I was nearing my first wedding anniversary, co-parenting an infant and forced to watch the game in a neighbor’s flat because they had a telly – and we didn’t.

The television screen was black and white because you could still buy them like that in those days.

We’d only just had our first night out after the baby’s birth, going to a nearby pub where a guy who’d gone to the same school as me was doing a stand-up routine.

He came over afterwards to ask about the new arrival.

His name was Billy Connolly.

Tonight he’ll get a BAFTA Fellowship award in recognition of his status as a global superstar to illustrate how far he’s come from that night in the Ace of Clubs Lounge in Clydebank.

We’ll watch the ceremony in color now that we’ve got our own telly.

All of which is a lengthy way of illustrating that the world’s a different place since Rangers won a European trophy half a century ago.

Colin Stein celebrates after scoring against Dynamo Moscow

It was a milestone then. It’ll be a miracle if it happens now.

It was believable then because Celtic had shown it could be done five years earlier when they won the European Cup by beating Inter Milan in Lisbon.

It is barely credible now because in football’s world of haves and have-nots, Rangers started out among the latter when Giovanni van Bronckhorst led them into the knockout stages of the Europa League they had joined in the qualifying rounds.

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So maximum credit where it is due and access is denied those who come up with any form of contrived nonsense intended to diminish Rangers’ achievement.

You can’t take out two Bundesliga sides and have that distinction minimized.

If Rangers beat a third German team to win the trophy they should get the Brandenburg Gate shipped to Glasgow as a prize to accompany the Europa League trophy.

No one expects fans of any other club to feel obliged to support Rangers on May 18 in Seville.

When I watched their last European win I was the guest of a neighbor whose affection for Celtic was both audible and visible on a daily basis.

Rangers’ win gave him no satisfaction whatsoever. Fifty years on, absolutely nothing will have changed.

That’s allowable under the terms of the Glasgow Convention, which differs from the Geneva variety because no prisoners are taken.

The rules are you wish the other lot no luck at all, regardless of who they’re playing, where they’re playing and whatever they’re playing for.

That’s fine. All is fair in love and football war.

Just don’t invent reasons to question the validity of their triumph if Rangers happen to win in Spain.

You can dread it happening but better to suffer in silence if it does rather than speak out and exhibit the extent of your discomfort.


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George Holan

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

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