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Rangers: Former assistant McAllister proud of club’s ‘special’ European run

Gary McAllister (right) and manager Steven Gerrard ended Rangers’ decade-long title wait during their three-year tenure

Gary McAllister left Rangers six months ago, but his emotional investment in the club remains undimmed.

That’s why the former assistant was swept along by every step of the club’s remarkable journey to Seville as the team he helped to build came within a whisker of Europa League glory this month.

While the agony of the shootout loss to Eintracht Frankfurt was acutely felt by McAllister, who moved to Aston Villa with manager Steven Gerrard in November, his overwhelming sentiment was one of immense pride.

Gerrard and McAllister had revived Rangers’ continental fortunes, leading the club into the Europa League last 16 two years running, before Giovanni van Bronckhorst picked up the baton and blazed a trail all the way to the final.

“To watch the team make their run to Seville was special,” said McAllister, whose three years at Rangers culminated in the club’s first top-flight title in a decade in season 2020-21.

“A lot of those players were ours, Steven brought most of them to the club. Gio then came in and did an amazing job. They were so close, almost touching the trophy.

“It just wasn’t meant to be. But I look at all those players and I’m extremely proud that I worked with them. They were such a pleasure to work with.”

‘The Scotland squad is so together’

In his playing days McAllister won English top flight with Leeds United and savoured a Uefa Cup triumph as part of a Liverpool trophy treble.

Nothing, however, can top his major tournament experiences with Scotland, playing at Euro 92 and 96 and being part of the squad at the 1990 World Cup.

The 57-year-old is desperate for the current crop – including Villa midfielder John McGinn – to make successive tournaments having ended a 23-year finals absence at Euro 2020.

And he believes the team spirit fostered by his former international team-mate Steve Clarke will be key for the play-off semi-final against Ukraine on Wednesday, with Wales awaiting the winners for a place at this winter’s World Cup.

“I’m confident they can get the right result on Wednesday,” McAllister told BBC Scotland Sportsound.

“Being involved in major tournaments, those five or six weeks you’re away with the squad, are some of the most rewarding times I’ve had in football. The camaraderie, I see similarities with Steve’s squad in comparison to Craig Brown’s.

“Everybody seems to be together. Most importantly the players who don’t start are right behind the ones who do. That alone make makes it become like a domestic team rather than a national side and they’re winning games.”

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