Echoes of 1972
Rangers hero compares final with previous Euro triumph
Last Updated: 14/05/08 9:10am
Rangers' 1972 Cup Winners' Cup team with the trophy at Ibrox
Rangers legend Colin Stein has drawn parallels between the club's run to this season's UEFA Cup final and the 1972 European Cup Winners' Cup success in which he played a key part.
"I didn't know if Rangers would get to a European final again but you never say never."
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Stein scored in Rangers' 3-2 win over Dynamo Moscow in the final at the Camp Nou 36 years ago and hopes to be among thousands of fans in the City of Manchester Stadium when the current Rangers side take on Zenit St Petersburg.
"There are a lot of similarities in the two cup runs," Stein said.
"We also beat Sporting Lisbon on the way to the final.
"Bayern Munich were beaten in the semi-final of the competition in 1972 - although by us - and there was a Russian team waiting for us in the final."
In Barcelona, Rangers were three goals ahead just after the break and cruising thanks to a Willie Johnston double and Stein's strike.
However, Dynamo, the first Russian club to reach a European final, had only started their season and they roared back in the closing stages with two late goals which left ragged Rangers hanging on for the final whistle.
Jubilant Light Blues fans, who had invaded the pitch several times during the game, clashed with the Catalan militia at the end of the match which soured the momentous occasion.
Rangers captain John Greig was presented with the trophy deep in the bowels of the Nou Camp and the players were prevented from returning to the pitch to take the acclaim of their supporters.
The Ibrox club were also banned from European competitions for two seasons, later reduced to one on appeal.
Stein added: "It seems a long, long time since Barcelona.
"I didn't know if Rangers would get to a European final again but you never say never.
"My abiding memory of the game is scoring my goal.
"I turned around and there was a red, white and blue tidal wave coming at me.
"There were about 30,000 Rangers fans in the Camp Nou that night and most of them seemed to be on the park each time we scored and then again after the final whistle.
"I don't think there were more than 10 Russian fans there.
"The only downside was that we weren't allowed to parade the trophy in the Nou Camp - but when we returned to Glasgow we did get to drive round Ibrox in the rain on the back of a lorry!"
Stein is confident his former club can emulate the class of '72.
He said: "I think Rangers have got a great chance of winning the cup. It might not be by playing pretty football but we can do it.
"I'm not sure they will race into a three-goal lead the way we did in the Nou Camp but it will be great if they did.
"The Scottish Premier League hasn't helped Rangers by not giving them time off to prepare so if they are going to do it they are going to have to do it the hard way.
"But I hope to be there to see it.
"It will be great to be in Manchester although it might be more difficult to watch Rangers in a European final than it was to play in one for them."