GARY MCALLISTER experienced an eerily quiet and stunned Ibrox for a split second.

Today, the wall of silence brings very different emotions for the Rangers assistant manager.

McAllister famously shocked the home crowd as he netted for Leeds United in the Battle of Britain clash back in 1992.

His strike was followed by the roar of a raucous support that cheered on Walter Smith's side.

But when the ball hits the net these days, there are no celebrations or encouragement from the empty stands.

Rangers can clinch a Europa League knockout round berth against Standard Liege on Thursday night but McAllister knows the sense of occasion just isn't the same as supporters watch on from afar.

He said: “It’s extremely difficult. The build-up to the games still bring major excitement. Rangers versus Galatasaray, Rangers versus Benfica, over in Estadio da Luz as well. The main thing for me, just looking at the two games — the two games against Benfica — just imagine what they would have been like.

“Two draws, their stadium holds something like 65,000, can you imagine what the noise would have been like inside the stadiums for both games.

“At 2-0 against Benfica last night at Ibrox the place would have been jumping. It would have been very special.

“I feel for the fans, but obviously I feel for the players because when you get to where I am, you can sit back and reflect and think ‘what a night that was at Ibrox in front of 50,000’.

“I feel for the fan but I also feel for the players because I played in European nights when it’s jumping an Ibrox is very, very special.

“But it did go quiet that night when I was with Leeds! Absolutely, I have the memories of that. And of the arriving an-hour-and-half before kick-off. You get the thrill because there’s people in and around the stadium.

“When we’re arriving now, there’s not a soul here. It’s very difficult for our players. It’s a shame the crowds aren’t here.

"When they start to come back, it will be in smaller numbers but it will be all the better. It needs fans.”

Rangers could have been going into the Liege clash with their last 32 spot already secured but a late fightback from Benfica denied them the crucial victory last Thursday evening.

The Light Blues could not be faulted for effort, but two late lapses and two shows of quality from the visitors cost them dear.

McAllister said: "Generally at Ibrox we do enjoy a lot of the football but Benfica are a good team, a very good team, even though they were missing two or three key players. I still thought they handled the ball really well, caused us lots of problems, and getting the ball was difficult.

"Over the whole thing, having slept on it, it is still a good result and we have got to look at all the positives.

"Our two goals were excellent in the way they were worked, good finishes – Kemar’s especially was a fantastic goal – and some of the football, when we did manage to get possession and make some passes, I thought we caused them a lot of problems. On reflection, I thought the draw was probably a fair result.

“When you get to this elite level, it is fine margins and every team you play against, there are individuals within those teams who are capable of producing something different."