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Champions with a special relationship can serve up a treat


Linfield manager David Jeffrey

Linfield manager David Jeffrey

Linfield manager David Jeffrey

Linfield manager David Jeffrey thinks it's fitting that the club chose a glamour friendly with Rangers to mark the club's 125th anniversary.

The Blues boss said: "It's a terrific match for the anniversary"

"The fact that we're going in as league and cup winners and they won the SPL makes it all the more special.

"With the relationship between the two clubs, I'm sure it will be a coming together that will be enjoyed by both sets of fans."

However, with next week's return leg against BATE Borisov to come, supporters should be prepared to see some unfamiliar faces.

He said: "We'll use the entire panel tomorrow.

"It took a lot of energy to draw with such a terrific side on Wednesday and there were a few achey limbs next day."

New Rangers' boss Ally McCoist will be the sixth different man to sit in the Ibrox hot-seat during David Jeffrey's Linfield tenure.

And the boss of the Irish League champions thinks that his Rangers counterpart will be a great success, having taken over the reigns at the Glaswegian giants follwing the retirement of Walter Smith this summer.

Jeffery said: "Ally will be thrilled to be stepping up and he starts off at an advantage as he's so popular already.

"He really is a cult figure at Rangers."

But today's match-up will not represent the first time the two have squared off against each other.

When Jeffrey returned home from Manchester United's youth set-up to sign for Linfield in 1982, he soon found himself up against Sunderland in a friendly tournament.

And leading the line for the Black Cats that day was a young Ally McCoist.

Jeffrey recalls the task of having to mark the Scot almost 30 years ago, although he can't remember if he successfully stopped him finding the net.

He joked: " I just remember I had a full head of blond curls and was about a fifth of the size. Ally's managed to keep his hair and his figure is slightly better than mine."

Belfast Telegraph