Bain is­sues fan warn­ing ahead of Manch­ester

The Scotsman - - Sport - aN­guS WrIght

RangeRs chief ex­ec­u­tive Martin Bain has urged fans with­out tick­ets not to travel to next month’s Cham­pi­ons League match against Manch­ester United at Old Traf­ford.

The Ibrox club and of­fi­cial sup­port­ers’ groups made a joint plea for sup­port­ers to stay away, un­less they are fully ac­cred­ited mem­bers of the Rangers Travel Club and are al­lo­cated seats for the game.

a Cham­pi­ons League group game be­tween the two clubs at Old Traf­ford in 2003 passed off with­out in­ci­dent but in 2008 over 150,000 Rangers fans trav­elled to Manch­ester for the UeFa Cup fi­nal and the oc­ca­sion was marred by a mi­nor­ity of sup­port­ers who clashed with po­lice and ri­oted in the city cen­tre.

In or­der to pre­vent any pos­si­bil­ity of a re­peat of the scenes which brought shame upon the club, Bain stressed that only fans with tick­ets should head to Old Traf­ford. He said: “It is an en­tirely dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion to the UeFa Cup fi­nal when there were more than 150,000 fans in the city and we are con­fi­dent that all ap­pro­pri­ate mea­sures will be put in place for the match in Manch­ester on 14 septem­ber.

“We do, how­ever, want to make it ab­so­lutely clear that any Rangers fan, apart from travel club mem­bers who will be al­lo­cated tick­ets, should not travel to Manch­ester. This ap­plies to fans liv­ing in scot­land, the UK and abroad. This is a stan­dard Cham­pi­ons League group stage match and as nor­mal, there will be no pro­vi­sion of spe­cial fa­cil­i­ties in Manch­ester, for those who do not have tick­ets.

“The club will be or­gan­is­ing su­per­vised trav­el­ling for sup­port­ers al­lo­cated tick­ets. We will be mak­ing ev­ery ef­fort to get our trav­el­ling sup­port­ers to and from Manch­ester on ar­ranged day trips, and in­de­pen­dent travel will be dis­cour­aged. Rangers has al­ready started li­ais­ing with Manch­ester United and greater Manch­ester Po­lice and we are look­ing for­ward to mak­ing this an en­joy­able oc­ca­sion for both clubs and their fans.”

Eg­gErt Jon­s­son watched from afar as Dundee United suf­fered in Athens but the Hearts mid­fielder in­sists he would have loved to have been in their shoes.

the tynecas­tle side – who missed out on the Europa League af­ter fin­ish­ing sixth last term – will be hop­ing Peter Hous­ton’s side suf­fer a Euro­pean han­gover in to­mor­row’s clash in gorgie.

United were elim­i­nated fol­low­ing a 2-1 ag­gre­gate loss to AEK Athens on thurs­day evening af­ter a chaotic and un­set­tling build up to the sec­ond leg in greece. Af­ter AEK’s Olympic Sta­dium was deemed un­playable and ri­vals Pan- io­n­ios’ ground was sab­o­taged, the tie even­tu­ally went ahead at the home of AEK’s fierce ri­vals Olympiakos.

Jon­s­son in­sists he would be will­ing to en­counter that drama if it meant play­ing in Europe. He said: “It was a shame how things de­vel­oped from their point of view with the is­sues in Athens. It was ob­vi­ously not their fault, it all seemed to be com­ing from the other team.

“they had a good sea­son last year with fin­ish­ing third and win­ning the Scot­tish Cup, they’re a good team and they got ev­ery­thing they de­served from last sea­son. But we think we should be there, we think we’re a team that should be fin­ish­ing up higher than we did last year. We think we should be in Europe, we can’t do much about it now rather than make sure we try and fin­ish there this year and that’s what we’re go­ing to try and do.”

Hearts head into the game brim­ming with con­fi­dence hav­ing scored nine goals in their first three com­pet­i­tive matches of the sea­son, al­beit four of those game against third Di­vi­sion base­ment side El­gin City in the League Cup on tues­day night.

Jim Jef­feries’ side have taken four points from a pos­si­ble six in league matches against St John­stone and Hamil­ton. How­ever, Jon­s­son, who is part of the Ice­land squad for their forth­com­ing Euro qual­i­fiers against Den­mark and Nor­way, reck­ons to­mor­row’s clash is the first real chance to gauge how they have im­proved as they look to oust their op­po­nents as the third force.

“It’s the third game in the league, all the matches are hard but you look at the first two and they were against teams that fin­ished in the bot­tom six. Maybe this is the first test of the new sea­son and we have to make sure we come out on top.”

tan­nadice de­fender Keith Wat­son be­lieves United can use their im­prove- ment in Athens as in­spi­ra­tion to get their league form back on track. the cup win­ners got a de­served 1-1 draw against AEK and were inches away from go­ing through to the Europa League group stages on away goals when Danny Swan­son nar­rowly missed a chance in the fi­nal min­utes.

Wat­son, who played in both legs and is mak­ing the right-back po­si­tion his own, reck­ons the con­fi­dence boost from thurs­day can help them against Hearts erase the me­mory of their 4-0 de­feat to In­ver­ness last week­end.

He said: “I thought I was much bet­ter and the team as a whole played very well on thurs­day. We were dis­ap­pointed af­ter the first leg at tan­nadice be­cause we didn’t feel we did our­selves jus­tice. In Athens we showed what we are ca­pa­ble of and we feel we could have gone through. [But] the Euro­pean thing is over now, it’s all about the league again and that’s what we’ll fo­cus on.”

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