Rangers' dire campaign was brought to a blessed end last night with predictable defeat in Seville. There was considerably more interest in the presence in the stands of Tom Cruise, a David Beckham convert to the celebrity football sect, than events on the field where the troubled Scottish champions struggled to muster an attempt on the home goal.
Freddie Kanouté scored the only goal of a tepid encounter in the eighth minute after Steven Whittaker tripped Fernando Navarro. With Rangers already certain to finish bottom of the group there was nothing to play for as another forgettable week for the Ibrox men took a familiar course. On and off the field their troubles are mounting.
There are no such worries for Christian Gross who took his place on the Stuttgart bench for the first time, having only been appointed on Sunday night, to watch his new charges score three in the opening 11 minutes against Unirea Urziceni and pip the Romanians to the second qualifying place behind Seville, the group winners.
Ciprian Marica, Christian Trasch and Pavel Pogrebnyak were the goalscorers and although Unirea pulled one back early in the second half, Dan Petrescu's side will play in the Europa League after Christmas.