Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Smith Makes His Point

No apologies from Walter Smith as Rangers held Manchester United at Old Trafford last night:

"In the Champions League, we now have to try and nullify the opponents some other way. Scottish teams are now in a situation where we are unable to compete with English clubs in signing the top players from all over the British Isles, unlike many years ago. So we have to try and find another way to succeed.

"So, from our point of view, we are pleased with the determination and high level of concentration the players showed. They restricted Manchester United to very few opportunities."

And, really, why should there be?

I wrote before the game that a draw would be a brilliant result. I was concerned that Rangers needed to make sure that they didn’t lose an early goal.

The 10 changes made by Alex Ferguson helped them, good as these players are, there was always going to be a lack of fluidity in the opening exchanges with such drastic shuffling of the pack. It was Rangers good fortune that United were unable to find that fluidity at any stage.

So it’s not pretty to watch but it’s a system that works and allows Rangers to compete on what, as Smith himself has pointed out, is not a level playing field.

We saw last year that when Rangers show a bit more adventure at home they can be undone by teams that are simply better than them. Why should they travel to the big European clubs and play a system that makes life easier for their opponents?

Anti-football? Whatever, it’s a results business and you make your choices based on that.

Given the disasters Scottish football has faced in Europe this season I’ll take last night’s parking of the bus at Old Trafford.

Still a long way to go for Rangers though.