|Battling away on the big screen...|
Without Madjid Bougherra, Sasa Papac and Maurice Edu, the 'Gers (who I should stress I would not dream of supporting other than in European competition) still looked well organised and very determined. In a first half which was more about survival than adventure, they had their fair share of the ball but struggled to know what to do with it. There were few clear-cut chances at either end, with United inevitably looking far more menacing. The quality, pace and excitement ratcheted up a notch or two after the break, thankfully. But in the end it was a penalty converted by the otherwise uninspiring Rooney that ended up separating the two teams after 180 minutes of football. That in itself is a considerable achievement for Walter Smith's men, whose reward is a crack at the Europa League. Almost certainly, they will not have the depth of squad to cope, and their final CL group stage match against Bursaspor will likely prove the 'Gers last appearance in the Champions League proper for some time, what with the coefficient further downgrading Scotland's stake in the competition.