Rangers’ record in European semi-finals as RB Leipzig lie in wait

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side are looking to become the fifth Rangers team to reach a European final.

By Press Association Published: 25 April 2022 - 2.51pm

Rangers take on RB Leipzig in the first leg of the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side are looking to become the fifth Rangers team to reach a European final.

Here, we look at past European semi-finals involving Rangers.

1960 European Cup

Rangers had the chance to reach the fifth European Cup final, which would be played at Hampden, when they were paired with Eintracht Frankfurt in the last four. An Eric Caldow penalty had Scot Symon’s team level at half-time in Germany but the tie was over by the end of the first leg after a second-half collapse saw the Germans hit five goals without reply. Eintracht also scored six at Ibrox to win 12-4 on aggregate and were applauded off the park by many in the 70,000 crowd. They would return to Glasgow later in May to play a supporting role in one of football’s most famous games as Real Madrid maintained their stranglehold on the trophy with a 7-3 triumph.

1961 European Cup Winners’ Cup

Rangers only had a year to wait to reach a European final and beat Wolves 3-1 on aggregate to do so. Goals from Alex Scott and Ralph Brand gave Gers a healthy advantage after the first leg in front of an 80,000 sell-out crowd at Ibrox. Rangers restored some Scottish pride in the second leg – which came days after a 9-3 defeat for the national team at Wembley – with Scott netting the opener. A number of the 10,000 travelling fans invaded the Molineux pitch to celebrate but the final was less enjoyable for them as their team lost home and away to Fiorentina.

1967 European Cup Winners’ Cup

Goals from Davie Wilson and Willie Johnston in each leg were enough to earn Rangers a 2-0 aggregate win over Slavia Sofia and set up a final against Bayern Munich. The German side stopped Glasgow securing both major European trophies in the same season as a solitary extra-time goal ended Rangers’ hopes of getting the trophy six days after Celtic had won the European Cup.

1969 Fairs Cup

Rangers lost 2-0 to Newcastle amid ugly scenes at St James’ Park following a goalless first-leg draw at Ibrox, when Andy Penman missed a penalty for the Light Blues. Both second-leg goals were scored by Scots – former Hibernian player Jim Scott and ex-Dunfermline winger Jackie Sinclair netting. The second goal sparked a pitch invasion from some of the 10,000 travelling fans and the game was held up for 20 minutes amid battles with police which resulted in 89 injuries and 30 arrests.

1972 European Cup Winners’ Cup

Rangers got their revenge on Bayern, who featured the likes of Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Muller, five years after their final defeat. Paul Breitner opened the scoring in the first leg in Munich but an own goal handed Gers a 1-1 draw. Sandy Jardine scored a stunning long-range opener past Sepp Maier 45 seconds into the return leg at Ibrox and 18-year-old Derek Parlane sealed a 3-1 aggregate win when he netted his first goal for Rangers after coming in for the injured John Greig. Rangers beat Dynamo Moscow 3-2 in the final.

1993 Champions League

Not a semi-final but Rangers were one game away from the final, which was played between the winners of the two groups. Walter Smith’s men went into their last group game level on points with Marseille at the top of Group A but trailing on goal difference. Rangers needed to better the French team’s result but were held to a goalless Ibrox draw by CSKA Moscow while an Alen Boksic goal earned Marseille victory over Club Brugge. Smith’s side were unbeaten in 10 matches in the tournament. Marseille beat AC Milan in the final before being stripped of the French title and banned from the following year’s Champions League following a bribery scandal.

2008 UEFA Cup

Nacho Novo celebrates
Nacho Novo celebrates scoring the winning penalty (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Rangers battled to a penalty shoot-out against Fiorentina after 210 goalless minutes before Smith led them to a final in his second spell in charge. Nacho Novo scored the winning spot-kick in Italy to send Rangers on their way to Manchester, where they lost 2-0 against Zenit St Petersburg.

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