Rangers are coming to Town

By Derek DavisChief Football WriterSCOTTISH champions Rangers are coming to Portman Road.Alex McLeish's side, who clinched the SPL title in a dramatic late twist last weekend, will play Ipswich Town in a pre-season friendly on Tuesday, July 19 with a 7.

By Derek Davis

Chief Football Writer

SCOTTISH champions Rangers are coming to Portman Road.

Alex McLeish's side, who clinched the SPL title in a dramatic late twist last weekend, will play Ipswich Town in a pre-season friendly on Tuesday, July 19 with a 7.45pm kick off.


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The Champions' League side completed a double in Scotland by also winning the CIS Cup.

The Scottish crown came about in unlikely circumstances on Sunday when two results combined to make the Light Blues champions.

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A Nacho Novo goal had given Rangers the lead at Hibs who were content to lose as long as they did not concede another goal as they had a better goal difference than Aberdeen, who beat Hearts 2-0.

Celtic were winning 1-0 at Terry Butcher's Motherwell until Scott McDonald hit a late equaliser, then score a winner in time added on and hand Rangers their 51st Scottish League championship.

One man delighted, and amazed, at the result was Ipswich Town groundsman Alan Ferguson, a long-time Rangers fan who used to tend the Ibrox pitch, who can't wait to see them at his award-winning Portman Road.

Ferguson said: “I have three boys who are all Rangers fans and are beside themselves with excitement. As friendlies go it is a very attractive game. The Rangers supporters are a very passionate bunch and thousands of them travel all over the place to see them so there should be a great crowd and atmosphere.”

The Scot could not bear to see the title race unfurl at the weekend but ended up a happy man. He said: “When Celtic went a goal up I went out to wash the car. My wife came out and told me Motherwell had equalised and I thought she was winding me up. By the time I got in the house they were 2-1 up and we had won the title.”

Despite his deep-seated Bluenose roots, Ferguson will be backing Ipswich in July.

He said: “When you work at such a wonderful club and get as close to the players and staff as I have you have to go for them.

It would be a great morale-booster to beat the Scottish champions but the main thing is that it is a good game for the fans. Probably the best result would be a high-scoring draw then everyone goes home happy.”

Rangers' star-studded side are likely to include keeper Ronald Waterrues, who won a Dutch title with PSV on the last day of the season in 2003, Dado Prso, Barry Ferguson and Alex Rae.

The fixture is a tremendous coup for the Blues who last hosted an Old Firm side back in November 1981 when Celtic played Town in Alan Hunter's testimonial.

Tickets for the game go on sale at the beginning of the week starting June 13 at competitive prices to be confirmed.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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