Woods Relishes Rangers Return

by Mark Rowan

Everton goalkeeping coach Chris Woods is looking forward to returning to Ibrox, but isn't anticipating a 'friendly match' when the two sides meet on Saturday.

The former England international made over 200 appearances for the Glasgow club between 1986 and 1991, during which time he helped the Light Blues to three consecutive league championships.

After playing his career out at clubs such as Sheffield Wednesday, Southampton and Burnley, Woods followed Walter Smith and Archie Knox to Goodison in 1998 and has remained on Merseyside ever since.

Although he never actually played for Everton, the 43-year-old is well aware of the passion of both sets of supporters and knowing both sets of players, Woods isn't expecting a clash for the faint-hearted.

"I don't think they're be such a thing as a friendly when two big clubs are involved," he told evertonfc.com.

"Both teams will want to prove that they are the best, no matter where or when they play. It'll be an interesting game.

"I think it'll be a massive test for us. They start their season earlier than us, so it'll be extremely hard work. It'll be a full house at Ibrox, so it could be 'fever pitch' to start the season off!"

Woods is no stranger to Everton-Rangers matches, having played in the Dubai Desert Classic between the two teams. It was the game where the champions of England met the champions of Scotland - and it's a game which sticks out in the 'keeper's mind.

"We drew 2-2 and we had about thirteen or fourteen penalties each," he recalled.

"I was lucky enough to stop one (from Ian Snodin) and the only reason for that was because I think I was due to take the next penalty!"

The phrase 'Once a Blue, Always A Blue' is frequently used when describing former Everton players, but in Woods' case, it can also be said of Rangers.

He looks back at his time at Ibrox with a great deal of fondness and simply can't wait to renew acquaintances on Saturday.

"I'm looking forward to going back," he continued.

"I had five great years there and I think a lot of the people who were working there at the time are still working there now, so it'll be nice to see a few old faces!

"I've been up to a few games, I've been up there to train a few times since I left there. They always make me feel welcome and I'm looking forward to it.

"Once you've played for the club, you feel part of the club - it must be the same for everyone who's played for Everton. When I go up there, it all comes back to me."

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