It is hard to imagine a better away result in over 50 years of European action as the French champions were humbled in their own back yard.

Lyon were stunned as Rangers hit them with three goals to stay joint top of Group E and evoke valid feelings that they can now reach the last 16 of Europe’s premier tournament.

It was a stunning night with Lee McCulloch, Daniel Cousin and DaMarcus Beasley all grabbing goals that the Rangers fans will savour for years to come.

The tremendous running power of Alan Hutton was instrumental in setting up the dramatic opener for Rangers in 23 minutes.

The young full back showed tremendous pace and determination as he burst from his own half forcing Kim Kallstrom into conceding a corner – Rangers’ first of the match.

DaMarcus Beasley weighed up the options and swept over a terrific ball with his left foot and Lee McCulloch rose to bullet a header into the roof of the net.

It was a sensational moment for the former Wigan man and he raced behind the goal to celebrate with the 2000 Rangers fans tucked in the left corner.

Not too many people would have predicted Rangers taking the lead in the match and they grew in stature having already established themselves in the match.

As expected Lyon came flying out of the traps and had Rangers under pressure but the Light Blues weathered that early storm.

Indeed in eight minutes they had the French champions in trouble when Beasley played a great ball wide for Hutton who tried to pick out McCulloch in the box but Sebastien Squillaci cleared.

Daniel Cousin almost worked a shooting opportunity in 14 minutes when he cut in from the left by Anthony Reveillere managed to clear for a throw-in. His moment was to come within three minutes of the restart.

Of course, with such talent up front Lyon were always going to be a threat and Karim Benzema tested Allan McGregor with a deflected shot but the keeper dealt with it comfortably.

Then in 26 minutes Kallstrom had a shot deflected wide for a corner but Lyon made nothing of it.

Rangers, of course, were wary of conceding free kicks in dangerous areas and they gave up two in the space of two minutes – albeit from long range – and Juninho showed his menace.

His first effort in 28 minutes flew wide and then in 30 minutes he almost caught McGregor out with a swerving strike to the near post but the keeper blocked it and Benzema could only steer the rebound harmlessly wide.

The Brazilian let himself down badly in first half injury time when he shamefully dived to win a free kick 25 yards out – an action which conned the referee and resulted in a yellow card for Davie Weir.

Juninho took the kick himself and hit the crossbar. It was simply justice done that he did not score.

The retribution for the villainy of his actions was to come within four astonishing minutes in the early moments of the second half.

Rangers, incredibly, scored twice to elevate themselves to Champions League dreamland.

It was Cousin who scored the first and set up the second in what was easily his best performance since joining in the summer.

It was Beasley who created the opportunity in 48 minutes with a great ball wide for Hutton. His ball in was expertly controlled by Cousin who moved away from Anderson and smashed a right foot shot past Remy Vercoutre.

The former Lens man went wild with joy as the Rangers bench leapt off their seats in utter delirium.

They barely had time to calm down when Cousin set up a third goal in 52 minutes and it really was becoming the greatest night ever.

Cousin launched a high ball forward from just over halfway on the left hand side and DaMarcus Beasley was suddenly clean through.

Inexplicably, Vercoutre seemed to hesitate and Beasley clipped in a left foot shot to send the fans into absolute raptures.

Lyon were shell-shocked. Juninho almost got them back in it but he was denied by the woodwork again in 70 minutes when his left foot shot smacked off McGregor’s right hand post. Let’s face it, he didn’t deserve it.

The French champions had some sustained periods of pressure, but Rangers were so solid at the back and took anything they could throw at them.

McGregor made a great save to deny Keita in 83 minutes the Anderson hit the post with a header a minute later so Rangers rode their luck a little, but they deserved it.

It was a stunning night for Walter Smith and his players and one that will live long in the memory of everyone who was there.

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