Barry Ferguson admits Rangers didn’t do themselves justice in the 2008 UEFA Cup final, but insists they weren’t helped by Scottish football’s governing bodies.
The former Ibrox skipper still regrets his side’s performance in the 2-0 defeat in Manchester to Zenit St Petersburg but believes Rangers would have performed better if they weren’t forced to play so many games in a short spell.
Rangers played 68 games over the course of the season, with many coming in a short space of time around the UEFA Cup Final and he believes the SFA and SPL should have stepped in to help.
Goals from Igor Denisov and Kostantin Zyryanov were enough to send Rangers back to Scotland without a European trophy and it’s a time in his career that still pains Ferguson.
In an interview with Open Goal , Ferguson said: “In terms of home games, we were great.
“Away games we got absolutely battered and I’m not going to sit here and kid you on, we had a way of playing, it wasn’t great to watch but we were difficult to beat.
“We got to the UEFA Cup Final and I don’t think we did ourselves justice in that cup final.
“It’s probably one of the regrets I’ve got. It was a nothing cup final.
“They had (Andrey) Arshavin, and (Anatoliy) Tymsoschuk, the midfielder. They had proper players but we never did ourselves justice that night.”
When asked why he thought Rangers weren’t themselves on the night he added: “I don’t know if it was the amount of games running up to it. I don’t know if you remember but the SPL or SFA never helped us. Surely if a club gets to a European final then some help should be given.
“I think Zenit had something like a week or 10 days to prepare for that game. We never.
“We never did ourselves justice.
“We had a team full of people who just wanted to win. It was a great team spirit, good players, the mentality of the guys was brilliant.
“I remember the semi-final against Fiorentina I went up to take the first penalty and missed it. I thought I’ve killed us here. To be fair to the keeper he pulled off some save.
“I thought to myself, right, go be the leader, grab the ball and take the first penalty. I went up confident and I go and miss it.
“I turned round and the boys are all heads down but thankfully we got through that shootout.
“To get to a European final was brilliant and to win it would have been amazing but we just didn’t do ourselves justice.
“I had all my family and all my friends down. A bus full, about 45 or 50 of them and what a day it was. What an occasion it was. I just don’t think the league or whoever was involved helped us.
“We just didn’t feel right, in a cup final you should get the full week to prepare leading up to it.
“I’m not using it as an excuse before people start tweeting but i just don’t think it was fair cause no matter if it’s Rangers or Celtic you surely want your clubs to be successful in Europe for Scottish football’s sake.
“It was a great run and we just fell at the final hurdle.”
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