Great Dane lord of Ibrox

David Dick talks to the Rangers player striking at the heart of Scotland
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The Independent Online
Football fans are not renowned for their charitable nature when it comes to praising teams other than their own, but only a downright fool would question Rangers' predominance over Scottish football. Victory against Aberdeen at Ibrox today will take their tally to eight successive championships.

Unfortunately for Craig Brown, his national side are unable to boast of such success, and those who witnessed the ease with which Denmark strolled through a normally miserly, if not classy, defence on Wednesday night saw little to suggest their fortunes are about to change. The Scots, by their own standards, looked shockingly poor.

Speaking after the game, Brown did his best to pinpoint the difference between his side and the present European Champions. "Quite simply, we don't have the Laudrup brothers," he said.

Rangers, of course, have Brian who, along with his sibling Michael, exposed all of Scotland's weaknesses which had failed to surface in a qualifying group where the toughest tests were Russia and Greece.

As one would expect, Brian Laudrup is something of a cult hero in one half of Glasgow while even the other half are forced to concede "He's no' bad". He is therefore unlikely to vilify the national side but he genuinely believes Wednesday night was a poor indication of what to expect from them in the Euro finals.

"Scotland will definitely lift their game for the finals," he said. "I could see some players were not playing to the standard they can. They have some very good players. Gary McAllister is recognised as one of the best midfielders in England and John Collins just needs match practice.

"They didn't defend very well in the first half on Wednesday and in international football you will always be punished for those kind of mistakes, but they improved. They will miss Duncan Ferguson but they are going to England in the same way Denmark went to Sweden in 1992. No one expects anything. I'm not saying they will win, but I think they could do well."

Doing well is something the Ibrox support have become used to in recent years, but if Rangers do secure their eighth consecutive title, for many it will be merely a stepping stone to equalling Celtic's nine in a row of the 1960s and 1970s before reaching the holy grail of numbers - 10.

Laudrup does not look so far ahead. "It would be great to equal Celtic's nine or even go beyond it, but it's great just to win the league. Every year it gets harder but the league has been much better to play in than last year. Celtic have been right behind us all the time. Last year seemed to be all about me. This is much more a team effort."

Rangers continue to grow: Laudrup, Paul Gascoigne, and now they are after Gianlucca Vialli's signature. As the rest of Scottish football drool with envy, there is no sign of things coming to a halt. "I've extended my contract for another year so I will be here until 1998," added Laudrup. "If Vialli came he would add something new to Rangers while Gascoigne is a great entertainer and our play together it getting better and better. Hopefully it will continue to do so."

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