McCall on Duty with Old Guard

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THAT endangered species of Ibrox - the thirtysomething Scot - will be charged with ensuring Rangers' European signing policy does not sacrifice the first domestic trophy of the season.

The holders are minus a host of international players for the Coca-Cola Cup visit of Dundee United, but the return of Stuart McCall after an 11 month absence through a knee injury will provide some sparkle to a tournament now well down the order of importance to Rangers supporters.

McCall, with three full reserve matches behind him, is certain to play at some stage tonight and his fellow Scots Ally McCoist, Gordon Durie and Andy Goram will switch their attention from national service to securing their Rangers places while World Cup duties occupy several foreign team-mates.

Durie picked up a hamstring strain in helping Scotland to the 4-1 victory over Belarus and will undergo a late fitness test, but one striker certain to start, much to the dread of Tommy McLean, is Marco Negri.

The Italian scored five against United last month and, inevitably, Walter Smith was keen to point out to expectant fans that a repeat of the trick is highly unlikely against a traditionally mean United defence.

'We enjoyed a good victory over them last time when Marco turned in an exceptional goalscoring performance,' said Smith.

'This time we, as a team, must turn in an exceptional performance. People will be looking for us to get among the goals again but this will be much tighter and back to normal in terms of Dundee United games. …