Thursday 10 April 2008 is a day which sticks out for Rangers fans more for what happened that day than the date itself:
It was Steven Whittaker’s incredible solo run which helped Rangers’ journey to Manchester, but that day would go down in history as more significant than just getting Rangers one step closer to the-then City of Manchester Stadium:
It was the last time Rangers won in 90 minutes away from home in a major European competition.
Naturally we’ve done it many times in qualifiers, that goes without saying, but in terms of succeeding in securing a win on the night away from home in the business end of a European tournament, it hasn’t happened in 11 years.
This is even well before the nightmare of 2012 by four years, and it’s been a hoodoo not even the brilliance of Steven Gerrard’s continental Gers has been able to break.
Just why can’t Rangers win in major competition away from Ibrox?
Even in Champions league qualifiers back in the day it’s been a struggle, and we couldn’t guess why.
Bad luck does seem to be a major factor – if Jelavic’s shot in 2011 was one inch inside the post rather than outside. If Tavernier hadn’t made a couple of errors. If this, if that.
No denying Rangers haven’t quite had the fortune – but then you also make your luck and for some inexplicable reason, despite how good our side can be, when away from home in a truly meaningful continental match it doesn’t seem to quite be able to produce a win.
It can get results – let’s not forget it’s shown major mettle in getting massive draws when a draw was beyond critical. Let’s not be too harsh here and act like this club can’t get results on its travels.
But when it comes to winning away from home at the group or KO stage of a competition, or in the qualifiers at UCL level, it doesn’t seem to quite be able to get the win, even when it deserves it.
And the absence from Europe between 2012 and 2017 isn’t enough of a complete reason because it doesn’t account for the other 6 years.
We’re puzzled. Definitely puzzled. This team progresses. It does what it takes. And it’s been deeply impressive in Europe under Stevie G.
Maybe in the next round, should we make it, we might finally get that fabled away win at this level.
We’ve certainly earned it.