McLeish looks to Ibrox faithful

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The Independent Football

Rangers plan to go for the jugular against VfB Stuttgart at Ibrox in the opening Group E game of the Champions' League tonight, hoping to spoil the German club's unblemished record this season.

Alex McLeish will be without the Scotland striker Steven Thompson, ruled out with a knee injury, but still believes that the passion of a packed Ibrox can inspire his team to become the first to score against opponents who have yet to concede a goal in five Bundesliga matches.

"We are definitely going to go out all guns blazing," McLeish promised. "You need to win your home games if you want to collect the nine or 10 points that will take you through. It's disappointing that Steven is out because he played well against Germany last week and he would have been a handful, but the way Michael Moles and Shota Arveladze are playing just now, we will give any team problems."

The manager will also miss the talent of Ronald de Boer in the midfield and the central defender Craig Moore, and knows that their absences will weaken his side. "It does not mean that we can't win because they are missing," he said, "but Ronald is our most influential player - Manchester United are not the same without Ruud van Nistelrooy."

McLeish, who had Stuttgart watched by his assistant, Andy Watson, as they earned a 0-0 draw away to Schalke on Saturday, knows the sellout 50,000 crowd will not unnerve the Germans but feels that the Ibrox supporters can inspire his side. "Stuttgart played in front of 60,000 on Saturday and won't be fazed by that, but it's what the fans can do for Rangers that will be important. They can be our 12th man, though they have to be patient because there will be periods where Stuttgart will have plenty of possession."

The manager is grateful to his Old Firm counterpart, Martin O'Neill, who provided videos and scouting reports on Stuttgart from Celtic's victory in the Uefa Cup last season. Stuttgart lost 3-1 at Parkhead and their 3-2 victory in Germany was not enough to see them through.

"They are a young team who took the Bundesliga by storm last season," McLeish said. "I saw their striker Kevin Kuranyi when he played for Germany last week against Scotland. This is their first time in the Champions' League but it is mine too and I am relishing it.There might be some painful lessons along the way, but I am ready for that."

Rangers (possible, 4-3-3): Klos; Ricksen, Berg, Khizanishvili, Ball; Capucho, Arteta, Nerlinger; Arveladze, Mols, Lovenkrands.

VfB Stuttgart (possible, 4-4-2): Hildbrand; Hinkel, Bordon, Meira, Vrajes; Gerber, Hleb, Heldt, Cacau; Kuranyi, Soldo.

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