There’s bound to be thousands of Rangers fans in Villarreal, and they’ll be looking to replicate their support of 2006.
According to former Gers star Ian Murray, that was when the Gers first took over El Madrigal.
Rangers face a huge clash against the La Liga giants on Thursday night, with a win putting either side in a terrific early position. It’s expected to be a tough evening, even if certain stats are on Rangers’ side.
Murray was part of the unfortunate Gers side that just came up short against Villarreal back in 2006. The Spaniards edged out Gers 3-3 on away goals. Alex McLeish’s men were a Kris Boyd strike away from reaching the historic quarter-final stage.
Yet it was the support that left an impression on Murray after the trip to Spain. Speaking in the Sun today, the former Gers and Hibs star spoke of the atmosphere created by a crazy visiting support.
“Rangers fans were well up for the game, but the numbers were extraordinary and it gave us a huge lift. They were banging on the windows and the bus was shaking.
“It felt like the Rangers fans took over half the stadium and maybe they did. But it was great to see them there as we hadn’t had a lot to shout about in domestic terms. Rangers fans nearly made it a home from home with the amount that went over.
“That added to the experience, and it gave us a bit of a shot in the arm in terms of looking at them all enjoying themselves.”
The importance of a vocal support
It’s important for the Rangers fans to know just how big of an impact their support can have on the side. With a lot riding on this first clash at El Madrigal on Thursday, the Gers faithful will be out in their numbers once more.
Even former players are getting set for a party in Spain, as the club celebrate their return to European football once more.
A vocal support will surely spur on Steven Gerrard’s side against an outfit struggling for domestic form. Villarreal have only won one of their opening four matches domestically.
A win would provide an incredible shot in the arm for the club, and belief would skyrocket. Words perhaps can’t describe just how big a good result could be for Rangers in Spain should they nab it.
The Rangers side that came close to achieving a win back in 2006 had no fear about them. They took the match to a much stronger Villarreal side and came inches away from qualifying to the next stage.
The Rangers side of 2018/19 must have that same belief if there’s to be any shocks in the air.