Rangers legend Lee McCulloch has opened up on the Gers’ Champions League campaign on the road to the 2008 UEFA Cup final and insists that the Light Blues blanked out claims of “anti-football”.
Barcelona icon Leo Messi was one of the vocal critics of the Gers after a 0-0 draw at Ibrox as Walter Smith’s side took seven points from their opening three games but failed to reach the next round.
McCulloch admits it was an “incredible start” before dropping into the UEFA Cup and going all the way to the final, losing to Dick Advocaat’s Zenit St. Petersburg.
Rangers find themselves in a similar position in this season’s Europa League and could secure their place in the next round tomorrow night, and McCulloch’s memories of 2007/08 should make sure the Gers aren’t complacent in seeing it out this season.
“We got off to an incredible start in 2007,” McCulloch told the Scottish Sun.
“We played really well against Stuttgart and were much more comfortable than the 2-1 scoreline suggested.
“The Lyon game was next, it’s a match I will never forget, not just because of my goal but because of the way the whole team played that night.
“Lyon were a fantastic team, filled with top quality players like Fabio Grosso, Juninho and Karim Benzema.
“They had such a formidable team and such a formidable record at home that no one gave us a chance.
“It was incredible to win the game 3-0.
“After that we dug out a 0-0 draw against Barcelona at Ibrox.
“I remember people criticising our performance, some saying it was anti-football.
“We didn’t listen to any of it. We’d picked up a point against Barcelona and at that stage, not many teams could say that.
“To collect seven points from our opening three group games was a fantastic achievement but for whatever reason we weren’t able to back that up in the next round of games.
“We were unlucky in Germany, losing 3-2 on the night and then we went down in the Nou Camp.
“But we were poor against Lyon and that’s the one that sticks out.
“Listen, as gutted as we all were at the time, we dropped into the Uefa Cup and the rest, as they say, is history.”