by David Marshall
Over 700 Rangers fans are expected to travel to Moscow ahead of the Ibrox side’s Europa League tie with Spartak Moscow.
Rangers Supporters Liaison Officer, Greg Marshall, says that huge travelling support is ‘incredible’.
He continued: “I’ve always said that we have the best support in the country and when you look at the amount of people we have going on a trip like this I think that just backs the belief up. It’s Phenomenal.
“We’ve had so much of these trips already this season, it’s incredible each time the numbers that support has travelled in.”
Spartak travelled to Ibrox two weeks ago and there was reports of Russian Ultras travelling to Glasgow and looking for trouble but the game passed without incident.
Marshall has ensured fans that their is little reason for concern when travelling to Moscow.
He said: “I’ve had no intelligence of any threat. we obviously need to be wary of their history for violence, but we’ve received nothing that suggests the fans should be fearful.
“It’s the same as going anywhere really, you need to be mindful and respectful of the customs of the country. Moscow is a little bit different of course because of the situation between Russia and the UK and the need to get visas.
“As long as people take a little bit more care and be aware of their surroundings, everyone should be ok and I don’t think there is any need for concern.
“There are Rangers fans out there already who have spoken about the great reception they have received.”
From a fans perspective, travelling to Moscow has it’s unique challenges that other major European cities do not. Andy McGowan who is one such fan who travels all over to watch his team, he spoke of some of the challenges travelling to Russia.
Andy said; “When the draw was made I didn’t book it straight away, I took the time one Friday night to sit down and actually figure out how we were going to get there.
“I was actually surprised with just how reasonable it was in terms of booking the flights and hotels. When I originally looked at it it was about £300 for your flights and two nights in a hotel, it jumped up to about £400 when I booked it.
“When you add in your visa that’s another £120 to £140 depending on how you go about it.”
There is certainly an appeal to a lot of supporters about travelling to Moscow and it differs greatly to the standard European trip. Wilf Marshall is another supporter traveling on Thursday from Edinburgh and he spoke about the appeal of the Russian capital.
Wilf said: “Growing up in my formative years there was a mystique to Russia because the Iron Curtain was still up and Moscow was at the heart of that.
“Moscow is a city that I’ve always wanted to go to and with the chance to follow Rangers two it’s killing two birds with one stone.”
Andy agrees with Wilf about the mystique surrounding Moscow and how many fans pinpointed this tie as the one to travel too.
Andy added: ” You go to Spain, you go to France, you go to Holland, these trips are somewhat standard or certainly where when we were in our European pomp. They probably will be again just with the nature of European football in the region we play in.
“But Russia is a wee bit different and there is no denying when I booked it there was a buzz. When you thin where we’ve been the last six years going to places in Scotland I never thought I’d be!
“Going to Annan, Montrose, Elgin, Forres there was a wee kick out of that because there was something different about it. But going to Russia and getting my picture taken in Red Square with my flag or scarf there is buzz out of that.”
Ultimately, whether the fans trip to Moscow is a successful one will depend on how the team perform on the pitch. A win for Steven Gerrard’s men will all but seem them progress from the group stage. Rangers have been impressive in Europe this season and Andy is confident his team can get the result in Moscow.
He said: “I think our team is more suited to away European games and I think the onus on Spartak might help us a wee bit.
“We’ll probably play on the break. They seem to be in a bit of disarray at the moment, but we’ve heard that before and the team end up turning up on the night.
“It will be really tough game, I really rate Spartak as a team and they are probably close to Villarreal in terms of quality.
“If you are looking for a prediction, I will say 2-1 Rangers.”