Legia boss Vukovic expecting Braveheart spirit at Ibrox despite partial closure

Ibrox chiefs have been ordered to close 3,000 seats when they host the Poles for Thursday’s do-or-die Europa League qualifier.

By Press Association Published: 28 August 2019 - 7.02pm

UK

Football

Scotland

Legia Warsaw boss Aleksandar Vukovic says he does not expect UEFA’s partial stadium closure to break the Rangers support’s Braveheart spirit.

Ibrox chiefs have been ordered to close 3,000 seats when they host the Poles for Thursday’s do-or-die Europa League qualifier as punishment for sectarian singing earlier in the competition.

But Legia head coach Vukovic still expects the Gers faithful to pump up the volume after boss Steven Gerrard called on them to send the stadium rocking.

Gers claimed a goalless draw last week at the Polish Army Stadium amid an atmosphere Gerrard described as one of the best he had ever witnessed.

But Vukovic is confident his side can handle what the Rangers fans offer in return after insisting they have to put up with worse back home.

Asked about the UEFA ruling, he said: “It is only 3,000 people. I’ve seen Braveheart so I’m aware of the Scottish spirit and the noise the Scottish people can make.

“There will still be plenty people in the stadium to make a great atmosphere.

“What Gerrard said was a big compliment from a guy who has played at Anfield for so many years.

“We have a great backing at home but they also help us to play away.

“In Poland at away games we often play tough crowds but no one likes Legia so we are always fighting against it. We are ready for tomorrow and Ibrox and will focus on our game.”

Gerrard was left frustrated by his side’s failure to score away last week and Vukovic believes that now gives his side an advantage.

But he admits it will be no disgrace if they do not make the group stages.

“I have told my players, ‘The second game is the most decisive game – we need to remember that’,” he said.

“Rangers can be more confident as they are at home but we have not come here to sightsee and look around Ibrox.

“It is a big game with a great deal at stake but I feel calm about it.

“It wouldn’t be a devastating blow if we lost to Rangers.

“That is an advantage because we have more to gain and Rangers have everything to lose

“We only need a 1-1 draw to go through. I don’t think there are any favourites. It will be difficult for us but 0-0 is a good score to bring into this match. It can help us because we know what we have to do.”

Meanwhile, Vukovic played down reports from Poland of a fall-out with last season’s top scorer Carlitos after he was left out of his side’s 3-2 win over LKS Lodz at the weekend.

The Legia boss said: “I’ve never said there was a problem, I said there was an issue.

“He is with us here right now and is considered for this game. He was always in contention for this game.”