McLeish hopes for repeat of Stuttgart's Ibrox defeat

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The Independent Football

The Rangers manager, Alex McLeish, is convinced that he has the tactical plan to beat Stuttgart tonight and keep his side's Champions' League campaign alive.

The Scottish champions know that nothing less than victory will be good enough, or they will be battling for a place in the Uefa Cup when Panathinaikos come to Glasgow next month to complete Rangers' Group E games. Such a result would be no mean feat as Stuttgart are top of the Bundesliga and beat Manchester United 2-1 in their Champions' League game in Germany.

However, McLeish was buoyed by a scouting report brought back by his assistant manager, Andy Watson, who watched a 3-1 win over Hanover on Saturday night. "In the last few weeks Stuttgart haven't been as effective as they were in the first part of the season," McLeish said.

Felix Magath's side have tasted defeat once this season, at Ibrox in the opening group game when Rangers came back from Kevin Kuranyi's opener to take the points thanks to late goals from Christian Nerlinger and Peter Lovenkrands.

McLeish was keen to use that as a motivational tool, although he conceded that the Germans had perhaps not deserved to lose, just as Rangers felt they had the chances in their next home game, when Manchester United won 1-0.

"Stuttgart are saying they should have got something out of the game at Ibrox just as we believe we should have got something out of the Manchester United game there," he said. "The bottom line is that they were defeated and so if we go to Stuttgart, be very well organised and work very hard then there is no reason why we can't [achieve] a positive result."

Rangers flew out yesterday without five experienced campaigners, however. Nerlinger, Craig Moore, Ronald de Boer, Mikel Arteta and Steven Thompson are all unfit.