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Robbie Devine

The date – Wednesday April 21 1993.

The venue – Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow.

The occasion – UEFA Champions League Group B final match.

The outcome – the first and to date last time I ever cried at a football match.

As a young boy Rangers were not just a big part of my life, Rangers were my life.
I really was fortunate that I caught the Rangers bug just as Greame Souness swaggered back into Scotland and instigated a revolution which saw the Govan club chase the dream before imploding and falling from grace.

Back in the late eighties and early nineties I was addicted to all things Rangers and football in general.

This was the time of Shoot and Match magazine, Saint and Greavsie, Archie McPherson and Sportscene, the anticipation of hearing all the latest transfer rumours from the voice of football Gerry McNee, the joys of subbuteo and I was in my element.

My father and me purchased season tickets for Ibrox taking our place amongst the masses as Walter Smith inherited the Gers after Souness headed back south to his spiritual home at Anfield. And season 1992-93 was our year.

Championship winners, Scottish Cup winners and League Cup winners but for me the year will always be remembered as when we came the closest we have ever came to reaching the promised land and tasting Champions League glory.
After knocking out the English champions Leeds United out we proudly entered the newly created group stages of the Champions League taking our place alongside Olympique Marseille, Club Brugge and CSKA Moscow.
And what a rollercoaster campaign it was!

A memorable comeback at a rain drenched Ibrox against Marseille, a crazy match winning goal from the fans whipping boy Scott Nisbet versus Brugge and of course Ian Durrant’s sublime volleyed equiliser in the return game in the south of France.

So going into the final night Smith’s side required no less that victory against the unfancied Russians whilst hoping Marseille would slip up in Belgium and a place in the Munich final would be ours.
The memories of that night are dominated by the heartache of hearing Marseille had emerged victorious so no matter what we could do our destiny was outwith our hands.

It was a night in which the young CSKA keeper broke the hearts of teddy bears all across the world with Ally McCoist, usually so prolific, enduring a night to forget and the dream of a final against AC Milan was to be only that, a dream.

And yes I can admit to blubbling like a baby afterwards, the opportunity to see my team reach a major European final had been extinguished.

Of course Marseille went on to be crowned kings of Europe after big Basile Boli headed them to a 1-0 win only to have the title stripped as a result of match fixing in the French league and for a few days there was talk of UEFA staging a match between Milan and Rangers to earn the right to claim the trophy but alas it just turned out to be talk.

Now 19 years later it all seems a lifetime ago as Ally McCoist now attempts to rebuild the club from scratch and instead of tackling the might of Europe we will be cheering the Light Blues against the likes of Annan and Elgin.

Changed days indeed but the memories of 1993 will never be forgotten.

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