|AFP/File/Sir Alex Ferguson|
MANCHESTER (AFP) – Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson insists Rangers fans will be on their best behaviour when the Scottish champions visit Old Trafford for a potentially explosive Champions League clash.
Rangers supporters and riot police fought running battles in the streets of Manchester before and after the 2008 UEFA Cup final, which was played at Manchester City's Eastlands Stadium.
Over 100,000 Scots travelled from Glasgow without tickets for the match against Zenit St Petersburg, with 42 fans arrested and many more injured during the ugly scenes.
It is thought the riots were in part fuelled by the failure of a big screen that was due to show the final, which they eventually lost, leaving drunk supporters staring at a blank screen in one of the busiest parts of the city.
Rangers fans will return to Manchester for the first time since that night when they face United in the opening game of their Champions League group on September 14.
But for Ferguson, a former Rangers player, the match is an occasion to relish, and not one he expects to be spoiled by rowdy fans.
"There were circumstances that day," he said, referring to Rangers' previous visit to Manchester.
"I don't think it was well organised because fans were invited down without tickets.
"It is like every club. Rangers have fantastic supporters but they have some bad elements.
"The unfortunate incidents that day maybe could have been avoided.
"Too many travelled without tickets. It won't happen again because we will be giving Rangers their proper allocation and they will control where the tickets are going.
"I don't expect Rangers fans to travel without a ticket."
Under competition regulations, Rangers will be given an allocation of around 4,000.
Assistant chief constable Ian Hopkins has already expressed his belief the game will pass off without incident, saying: "Greater Manchester Police is extremely experienced at policing high profile European football matches.
"We will be working in partnership with the clubs and football authorities to ensure this is a safe and enjoyable game for all."
Manchester City Council intend to arrange the evening in a slightly different way, and confirmed there will be no big screens erected for fans to watch the game.