FACING DOWN THE BOO BOYS ; HIGHS AND LOWS: Adam Celebrates after Scoring His Superb Equaliser against Stuttgart (above), the Perfect Antidote to His Miserable Display against Zeta (Left), Which Culminated in His Halftime Substitution

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), September 23, 2007 | Go to article overview
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FACING DOWN THE BOO BOYS ; HIGHS AND LOWS: Adam Celebrates after Scoring His Superb Equaliser against Stuttgart (above), the Perfect Antidote to His Miserable Display against Zeta (Left), Which Culminated in His Halftime Substitution


Byline: FRASER MACKIE

IBROX can be an unforgiving arena.It would be a waste of time discussingthat with VfB Stuttgart - they knew it from four years ago but had a memorylapse on Wednesday and were caught out by a home crowd assisting their heroesto another comeback success in the Champions League.

Rather,it is often one of their own who can suffer under the inordinateexpectation created by a capacity stadium when Rangers play.

Before the midweek dramatics at the venue, the last sighting of Charlie Adam ina Rangers shirt came as he was being consoled off the pitch by Barry Fergusonand David Weir on a night when none of the natural things, never mind the mostambitious, in his game went right.

That was at the interval of a 2-0 win over Montenegrin minnows Zeta in whichWeir and Lee McCulloch eventually bailed out an uninspiring Rangers team.

Adam was jeered during the match by some fans before his substitution athalftime - a hurtful experience for anyone, but especially for the 21-year-oldwhose always honest endeavours gleaned 14 goals for the club last season.

Walter Smith then left the player out of his calculations for seven weeks untilhis shock inclusion in the starting XI to face Stuttgart on Champions Leagueopening night.

The evening was not without its nervous moments for Adam on his return and anearly piece of miscontrol prompted groans from sections of the support, so toodid his wasteful effort at a free-kick. The substitution theme hovered again,then, with Adam set to be replaced in the second half with the Germans leading1-0.

But the Ranger who refused to hide stepped up to shuffle inside the penaltyarea on to the exhaustive Alan Hutton's pass and curl home an equaliser pastRaphael Schafer.

The goal of his life, with his weaker right foot, could not have come from aplayer lacking confidence. Despite his omission from the squad, and having onlyreserve and bounce games to maintain his fitness since the end of July, Adamhas a terrific internal belief.

Instinct laced with invention earned him many of his goals last season and hewill want this latest strike to set up his critical 'second season' as afully-fledged Rangers first-team player.

'That's the one thing about Charlie - he's a boy who will try a lot of things,'said boss Walter Smith. 'A lot of players go into their shell if a few thingsdon't come off but Charlie keeps playing and keeps trying things that theothers don't.

'While sometimes that leads him to be a little bit erratic in his play, healways makes a contribution to the game. He has a great delivery fromset-pieces and can come up with some spectacular goals, like the one againstStuttgart.

'He's not a natural wide player and,in a season or two,he might eventually comeand play on the inside.But his goals ratio has been terrific for us.' Adam,whofinished the previous campaign on such a high with a competitive Scotland debutin the Faroe Islands, endured a rusty start to his Champions League career,though.

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FACING DOWN THE BOO BOYS ; HIGHS AND LOWS: Adam Celebrates after Scoring His Superb Equaliser against Stuttgart (above), the Perfect Antidote to His Miserable Display against Zeta (Left), Which Culminated in His Halftime Substitution
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