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Fixture congestion won’t disrupt Rangers

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Steven Whittaker

Steven Whittaker

Steven Whittaker

Steven Whittaker hopes Rangers can draw on past experiences as they maintain their bid to fight for silverware on four fronts this season.

The last time the Scottish champions battled for a clean-sweep in both Europe and at home, they progressed all the way to the UEFA Cup final only to miss out on both the European trophy and the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title.

Crippling fixture congestion proved too much for Walter Smith's men to overcome back in 2008. But, as Rangers prepare to host Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League tonight, Whittaker is hoping for a similar run but with a different outcome this time around.

“We definitely have good memories of that time,” he said. “It was a fantastic run we were on that year.

“The fixture backlog set us back a little bit and we can take the experience of that into this year hopefully and still have a good run and have success at the end of the season.

“It's something we just have to deal with. We can't choose when the fixtures come, it's made for us.

“The boys who maybe haven't been playing as much will get their chance to come in.”

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One of the most memorable moments of that impressive run to the UEFA Cup final was the solo goal Whittaker scored at the Alvalade Stadium as Rangers triumphed the last time they faced Sporting.

“Scoring the goal over there was a personal highlight for myself and capped off a wonderful European night for the club,” Whittaker recalled.

“We were a goal up anyway and looked like we were going through but to score the goal in the last minute, in the manner that we did, was a great moment.”

Asked about the Sporting side Rangers can expect to come up against tonight, Whittaker added: “I don't know too much about them at the minute.

“I read in the papers that they aren't doing too well and their season isn't going as well as what they maybe expected.

“It's definitely something we are aware of but they are still going to be quality opposition and we have to be wary.”


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