By Nick Ware

18th Jun, 2021 | 11:10am

Jose Mourinho: Rangers fans still thank me for beating Celtic in 2003 UEFA Cup final

Jose Mourinho has told talkSPORT that he still receives warm greetings from Rangers fans after his Porto side beat Celtic in the 2003 UEFA Cup final.

The self-confessed ‘Special One’ has managed an array of elite-level clubs over the past two decades, including Real Madrid and Inter Milan, but his most defining moment in Scottish football was that clash 18 years ago in Sevilla.

Celtic were left heartbroken in Spain after a 3-2 defeat in extra-time handed the Portuguese giants the trophy.

Speaking to Celtic-mad Alan Brazil and former Rangers hero Ally McCoist on talkSPORT [09:45, 18/06/21], Mourinho revealed that his efforts in thwarting the Hoops have not been forgotten by one set of supporters.

“Now, in the streets of London and other areas, what I still find is the Rangers fans thanking me for that final,” he said.

“They say ‘Jose, thank you so much for that final, thank you so much’.”

McCoist was heard audibly chuckling as Mourinho recounted his exchanges with Bears, while Brazil appeared disgruntled and attempted to move the conversation away and onto Celtic fans.

Pipped to the post

What a campaign the 2002/03 season was for Rangers fans.

In Alex McLeish’s first full season in charge we swept up the domestic honours, completing a glorious treble of the Scottish Premier League, Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup.

Even better was how we secured two of those victories – the League Cup came courtesy of a 2-1 win over our Old Firm rivals, while a dramatic last day of the Premier League season saw us win the title on goal difference, the closest finish in the history of the SPL.

One blot on our copybook, however, was our performance in Europe, crashing out to Czech side Victoria Zizkov in the UEFA Cup.

It nearly became even more embarrassing as Celtic reached the final of the competition, and they were five minutes away from a penalty shoot-out in the final before Porto struck a third to send their fans and Mourinho into raptures.

It really did crown a brilliant campaign for Bears, and we can thank a Mourinho masterclass for that.

Whenever Steven Gerrard departs Ibrox, Mourinho can rest assured that he would be a popular pick to succeed him so he can outclass Celtic one again.

In other Rangers news, the Government’s hypocrisy stinks over what happened on Thursday.