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Old friends meet as Manchester United face Rangers

Manchester United FC manager Sir Alex Ferguson renews acquaintances with his former assistant Walter Smith when the Premier League side welcome Rangers FC on Matchday 1.

Old friends meet as Manchester United face Rangers
Old friends meet as Manchester United face Rangers ©UEFA.com

It is a case of friends reunited as Manchester United FC manager Sir Alex Ferguson welcomes Scottish champions Rangers FC to Old Trafford for this all-British Group C encounter.

• Ferguson was a boyhood Rangers fan who later played for the club and he has had two spells working alongside the Scottish champions' manager Walter Smith, first in the Scotland set-up and later at Old Trafford.

• United have a fine home record against Scottish opposition while Rangers last visited Manchester in May 2008, losing 2-0 to FC Zenit St. Petersburg in the UEFA Cup final at the City of Manchester Stadium.

Previous meetings
• The clubs met for the first time in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League group stage with Alex McLeish then in charge of Rangers. United prevailed 1-0 at Ibrox through a fifth-minute Phil Neville goal, and won 3-0 at Old Trafford, Diego Forlán and Ruud van Nistelrooy (2) scoring.

• The full lineups for that latter encounter on 4 November 2003 were:
Man Utd: Howard, G Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Fortune, Ronaldo, P Neville, Keane, Giggs (Bellion 67), Forlán (Kléberson 67), Van Nistelrooy (Fletcher 77).
Rangers: Klos, Khizanishvili, Moore (Ross 68), Berg, Ball, Arteta, Hughes, Arveladze, Vanoli (Burke 83), Mols (Capucho 56), Lovenkrands.

• Allan MacGregor was an unused substitute for both matches and is the only survivor from that Rangers squad.

Match background
• United are beginning their record 16th group stage campaign having failed to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2006 last term and surrendering their 23-match unbeaten home European record by losing to Beşiktaş JK on Matchday 5.

• Rangers picked up just two points in last season's group stage – both earned on their travels, at VfB Stuttgart and FC Unirea Urziceni.

• United's four previous home matches against Scottish visitors yielded three wins and a draw. They earned victories against Celtic FC in the 2006/07 and 2008/09 UEFA Champions League and the only Scottish side to have escaped defeat are Dundee United FC, who earned a 2-2 draw in the 1984/85 UEFA Cup third round.

• Rangers have recorded only one win on four visits to English clubs, beating Leeds United AFC 2-1 at Elland Road in the second round of the 1991/92 European Champion Clubs' Cup – a victory that earned them a place in the competition's inaugural group stage.

Team ties
• United manager Ferguson played for Rangers from 1967 to 1969 and scored 35 goals in 66 appearances in all competitions.

• As Aberdeen FC manager, Ferguson lost the first major final of his career against Rangers in the 1978/79 Scottish League Cup. He gained revenge with Scottish Cup final wins against his old club in 1981/82 and 1982/83.

• Rangers manager Smith was Ferguson's assistant when he led Scotland at the 1986 FIFA World Cup and also served as his No2 at Old Trafford in 2004.

• As manager of Everton between 1998 and 2002, Smith recorded seven defeats and a draw in eight league meetings with United. Wayne Rooney came through the youth ranks at Everton during Smith's reign but the striker's debut in 2002 came five months after the manager's departure.

• As Scotland captain, United midfielder Darren Fletcher joined eight Rangers players in the squad for this month's UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers.

• Kenny Miller was a substitute for Celtic in both group stage encounters with United in 2006/07.

• Madjid Bougherra faced Rooney in his Algeria side's goalless draw with England at the World Cup in June.

• Vladimír Weiss is on loan at Rangers from United's local rivals, Manchester City FC.

• James Beattie made one of his two starts for England against Liechtenstein at Old Trafford on 10 September 2003, playing alongside United's Rooney, Gary Neville and Michael Owen.