Eric Cantona Walter Smith Stuart Maccall Mark Hateley Britain France city Moscow show man Parke Eric Cantona Walter Smith Stuart Maccall Mark Hateley Britain France city Moscow

Rangers icons recall agonising Champions League near miss amid fake French 'agents' and Eric Cantona spy

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This season’s foray into the Champions League has been a difficult and painful one for Rangers. Halfway through their group campaign, no points, no goals and three defeats are all they have to show for their efforts.

It puts into context just how well the club performed 30 years ago in the first season of the revamped European Cup. In a week when Liverpool come calling, Mark Hateley, Stuart McCall and Archie Knox’s minds raced back three decades this very month when Leeds United arrived for a Battle of Britain play-off match and were beaten home and away to set up a run that would end in acrimony and suspicion that bribery had robbed Rangers of the chance of winning Europe’s top prize.

At the end of a 64-game season under Walter Smith, the Treble was in the trophy room but the one that got away and ended up in Marseille, before the French club’s owner Bernard Tapie was jailed for match fixing bribery, will be forever remembered by those who pulled on the blue shirt during that campaign.

Star striker Hateley and midfielder McCall were two of the main men on the pitch; Knox was Smith’s right-hand man in the dugout and three decades on they continue to believe they were robbed.

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