RIGHT through history, Old Firm games have had a habit throwing up unlikely goalscorers.
From Bert Konterman’s wonder-goal in 2002 to Maurice Edu’s point-blank tap-in in 2010, numerous players not renowned for their goalscoring have netted in this fixture.
Up there on that list would be Gregory Vignal, who opened the scoring with a long-range effort as Gers recorded a famous 2-0 win at Parkhead on February 20, 2005.
Manager Alex McLeish had never won across town as manager of Rangers, and indeed, it had been five years since any Gers side had won in the East End of Glasgow.
Both sides went into the match level on points at the top of the Scottish Premier League, albeit, Martin O’Neill’s men had a game in hand over their rivals.
So, it’s safe to say there was plenty riding on this encounter, with Vignal believing his team’s build-up to the game had much to do with their eventual success on the day.
Speaking to RangersTV, he said: “I remember the victory, the commitment and the way we prepared the game. I think that was the key and that is why we won over there.
“The desire and the commitment was so good, and all the week building up to the game was good too. We gave everything, and we knew we had to win that game if we wanted to win the title.
“We hadn’t won there for five years, so we were under pressure but it was a fantastic game and a fantastic feeling to win. Everyone played well and it was a massive win for us.”
After soaking up a fair bit of pressure with newly-signed goalkeeper Ronald Waterreus in inspired form in goal for the Light Blues, Vignal’s big moment arrived.
Having never scored before for Gers, he was possibly the last man they would want receiving the ball 25-yards from goal from a Fernando Ricksen knock-down.
Gregory will take part in the upcoming Rangers’ Legends Match on March 24. Click here to get your tickets now
His shot was crisp and well-struck, but looked to be an easy take for Celtic goalkeeper Rab Douglas. Instead, however, the ball went right through Douglas and into the back of the net.
Cue utter bedlam among the Rangers fans, and among the players in blue, with Vignal almost in tears as he charged to celebrate with the substitutes’ bench.
“It was crazy!” he recalled. “When you are under pressure it is difficult to realise or understand, but I was so happy, and when I saw the ball in the net I went crazy!
“I was lucky to play this game and I wasn’t sure to play as I had a broken arm – so I couldn’t sleep in the week building up to it but when I scored, the emotion was so high for me.”
Nacho Novo added a second for Rangers soon after to secure a famous win, and after the game, the outpouring of emotion continued, with boss McLeish’s post-match TV interview famously interrupted by a chorus of “Follow Follow” from the away dressing room.
It was arguably a pivotal day in the race for the title, with Gers eventually winning it on “Helicopter Sunday” on the final day of that season.
For Vignal, who is now back at Rangers as a coach in the club’s Academy, it is a goal and a game that has never left him – not that any supporters of Rangers whom he has met over the years would let him do that.
“When you play for a big club,” he added, “and you score in a big game, everyone remembers it, especially in that year.
“It was such a massive game – we played well and it was fantastic.”
Vignal was speaking as he promoted the Rangers Youth Development Company and their £8k in 2018 Lotto campaign.
£10 million in prizes has already been won in recent years and it costs just £1 to play. Full details on RYDC and their portfolio of products can be found at www.rydc.co.uk