Life's unbelievable for ex-Blue

NEIL Alexander plays in the biggest game of his life tonight, which totally vindicates his decision to leave Ipswich Town for Rangers.The 30-year-old plays in the UEFA Cup final against Zenit St Petersburg at Manchester's Eastland Stadium less than four months after leaving Portman Road, and is on track to help Rangers achieve a unique quadruple.

Derek Davis

NEIL Alexander plays in the biggest game of his life tonight, which totally vindicates his decision to leave Ipswich Town for Rangers.

The 30-year-old plays in the UEFA Cup final against Zenit St Petersburg at Manchester's Eastland Stadium less than four months after leaving Portman Road, and is on track to help Rangers achieve a unique quadruple.

Alexander, who signed for Town last summer as a free agent after leaving Cardiff, went to Ibrox in a £500,000 switch as understudy to Allan McGregor, who injured an ankle playing against Celtic.


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That paved the way for Alexander, who has already helped the Gers win the Scottish League Cup with saves in the penalty shoot-out and he repeated the feat in the UEFA Cup semi-final.

Alexander said: “I never thought this would happen and it's just got better and better since I arrived here.

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“It's unbelievable and now I have another final to look forward to. This is without a doubt the biggest game of my career. It is a fantastic occasion and to win it would be just unbelievable.”

The Scotland international is upbeat about Walter Smith's team's chances, although he admits former Gers' boss Dick Advocaat's Russian side are formidable opponents.

He said: “Zenit are a good team and they beat Bayern Munich quite comfortably so we know it's going to be a hard, hard final. But we've had a hard run to get there so why not?”

For someone who arrived at Portman Road with a reputation for not saving penalties he has turned that myth on its head.

In his last game for Town he saved a penalty against Plymouth in a 0-0 draw and his penalty save at home against Colchester United helped turn the match.

And the Gers keeper proved to be their saviour when he blocked from Fabio Liverani, before Christian Vieri blasted over in front of the Viola's fans in Florence, after both legs had ended goal-less.

Alexander admitted: "I thought we had blown it when Barry (Ferguson) didn't score to be honest and I just wanted to save one to give the team a chance to get back in it.

“I managed to save one and then Vieri put his over the bar. It was fantastic - it was hard to take it in.”

Alexander admits he feels sorry for No. 1 McGregor, who will miss the final through an ankle injury.

He said: “Allan has more than than played his part in getting the club this far. He has had a fantastic season.

“So, as much as I am delighted for myself, I am really disappointed for Allan because these are the games that you want to play in as a professional.

“He probably deserved to be part of the team that is playing in these big games.

“But hopefully he will not be sorely missed.

“Hopefully, I can do myself justice and carry on from where he left off.”

Alexander started every game for Town this season, making 31 appearances for Town, before moving back to his homeland.

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