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Jindrich Trpisovsky keen to meet his hero Steven Gerrard in Europa League tie

Slavia Prague Training and Press Conference – Stamford Bridge
(Image credit: Ian Walton)

Boss Jindrich Trpisovsky will come up against one of his football heroes when Slavia Prague host Rangers on Thursday.

Trpisovsky is a huge admirer of Liverpool and Gers manager Steven Gerrard and recalls with ease the part the former Kop captain played in their famous 2005 Champions League comeback win over AC Milan in Istanbul.

The Anfield side were three goals down to the Serie A giants at half-time but in an unforgettable night Gerrard scored early in the second half to drag Liverpool back into the game and they sensationally brought the match back to 3-3 before winning 3-2 in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.

Ahead of the first leg of the Europa League last-16 tie in Prague, Trpisovsky said: “The game you mention in Istanbul I will never forget.

“He was the captain and there was a 180 degree turn in the match. It was outstanding to see.

“He has a very good history. I have learned a lot from Milan Baros (former Liverpool and Czech Republic striker) who remembers him as a strong leader and good mentor on and off the pitch.

“He is one of the key players of my youth, I have seen many matches he played.

“So it is going to be a great encounter for me because I never dreamt of meeting him in person.”

Rangers arrived in the Czech Republic on the back of their first Scottish Premiership title win in 10 years.

The club’s 55th championship success, which prevented Old Firm rivals Celtic making it 10 in a row, elicited great celebrations among players, staff and supporters of the Ibrox club.

However, Trpisovsky, whose side knocked Leicester out in the last round, knows Rangers are unbeaten in the league and in Europe this season and believes they will want to continue that impressive run.

He said: “The celebrations are gone already. We experienced the same thing two years ago when we got the title on the Sunday and two days later we played a very important match.

“They are professionals, they want to succeed each time and I believe they will focus on the next match.

“It’s a great achievement for them, it will only be motivation for them.”

“I am a great fan of Scottish football,” he added.

“It has been a dream to play a Scottish team because I wanted to experience the atmosphere in their stadium.

“Unfortunately there will be no fans but I am looking forward to it. It is a great football country.

“I watch the Scottish league and Scottish football has a very long tradition.

“Our national team has encountered Scotland twice recently and both matches were of excellent quality.”