David Weir: Rangers can go all the way

Albion's acting technical director backs his former club in tonight's Europa League final.

By Bruce Talbot • 18 May 2022

By Rex/Shutterstock Images
David Weir played for Rangers from 2007-2012.

David Weir believes his former club Rangers can go one better than the 2008 team he played in and achieve European glory tonight.

Albion’s acting technical director played 162 games for the club between 2007-12 and was in the team beaten 2-0 by Zenit St Petersburg in the final of the UEFA Cup at the Etihad Stadium.

Fourteen years on and Rangers have the opportunity to mark the 50th anniversary of their only other European success, when they won the 1972 Cup Winners Cup, against Eintracht Frankfurt in the final of the Europa League in Seville tonight.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s team have already knocked out some of Europe’s biggest names including Borussia Dortmund, Red Star Belgrade and RB Leipzig, and Weir believes they can beat the side who knocked West Ham out in the semi-finals.

By Paul Hazlewood
David Weir is Albion's acting technical director.

“Am I surprised how well they have done? Yes, to a degree, although Rangers have been getting great results in Europe for a few years now. To get to the final is exceptional, however.

“I think it will be close but I hope and expect Rangers to win in what would be a culmination of the journey that the club has been on. It would be great for most of Scottish football although the other half of Glasgow may disagree!”

Reflecting on the 2008 final, Weir didn’t think there was much to choose between the teams, but Zenit opened the scoring in the 74th minute and sealed their victory with a second in stoppage time.

“The first goal in a final is always important and it proved to be the case in this game. My memory of the final was the fans supporting us in their numbers and what a massive occasion it was for everyone. I also remember the pain of losing.”

By Rex/Shutterstock images
David in action against Sporting Lisbon in the quarter-final.

Like the current squad, Weir’s team progressed in the competition after being knocked out of the Champions League but whereas the 2022 squad didn’t make it to the group stages, Rangers finished third in a section that also included Barcelona, Lyon and Stuttgart.

“We were defensively disciplined and hard to beat, even in the Champions League group. We were a very good team over two legs and were built on defence. In a one-off game such as the final we weren’t quite as effective, although we had beaten Lyon and Stuttgart earlier in the season. Ultimately Zenit were better than us on the day.

“The run to the final was memorable and some of the games were amazing but the final not so much, as we lost. I’ve been fortunate to win some finals and league titles and they were always a much better experience.”