Gibson sends Trap message

Paul Hyland

HOW about that Mr Trapattoni? Goal hungry Darron Gibson gave the Irish boss plenty to think about after he was handed the pivotal role for Manchester United against Rangers by Alex Ferguson.

Try as he might, Gibson couldn't find a way through a packed Rangers defence but he gave a strong enough performance to suggest that Trapattoni might have been premature in signalling that the Derryman needed to change his game or fade into the background at Old Trafford.

Gibson was, without doubt, Manchester United's most potent goal threat all night and looked like a man on a mission. Hopefully, Trapattoni was watching.

Trapattoni must have been pleased to see his skipper Robbie Keane in action for Spurs, even if he only played for 40 minutes against Werder Bremen, and with Aiden McGeady to follow this evening when Spartak Moscow play in Marseille, the Republic of Ireland's Champions League contingent has swelled to four this season, although John O'Shea was rested with Manchester United's big weekend clash with Liverpool uppermost in Ferguson's mind.

Keane played for most of the second half against Werder Bremen and although Spurs had a two-goal lead before they were pegged back to 2-2, Harry Rednapp was happy with his team's work.

Spurs first venture into the Champions League proper looked like delivering a surprise three points and signalled that Harry Redknapp has more than survival on his mind in the competition.

"We're all disappointed when you're 2-0 up and you don't win. But I was delighted with the performance, really. We were much, much better than them in the first half. They didn't get near us.

"It was a perfect first 43 minutes. If we'd have been three or four goals up, it would have been a fair reflection of the play.

"From never having a shot or bothering their goalkeeper, they suddenly found themselves 2-1 and they had something to go for. They got that goal when, really, they were struggling to live with us and it gave them a lift."