The emphasis on the next two games is probably as big as there has been at any point over the last few years. Thursday is massive and represents a huge opportunity for the club to progress in Europe and would prove a leap in the right direction for everyone connected to Rangers. I’d also like to think it is a huge thumbs up to the management and the good work they have done so far, they deserve the rewards of progression as much as anyone
The fact is that the tie is still in the balance so we will need to be right on our game as UFA will be a different proposition in Russia altogether. I expect they will come out and have a go but Rangers have the experience of Maribor and Osijek to fall back on. It’s that experience that I hope will bring us enough to get through this tie. We certainly have enough to pinch a goal at the other end which would leave the Russians chasing the tie completely
IF we do manage to make it through and I’m backing the players to do it, then it represents huge progression for the club. For Gerrard to steer the club from qualifying round 1 to the groups is no mean feat and even bigger when you consider how poor the squad was he inherited. The financial incentives are there for the club and so is the prestige of Rangers being involved in more glamour European nights at Ibrox and abroad
So with that said we go from one huge match to another with the little matter of an away trip to our nearest rivals on Sunday. The challenge for the team is huge especially when we consider recent results in this fixture. But league form is paramount and even this early I feel it’s vital we take something from the game
The league start has been damaged by late lapses in defence meaning we sit only on 5 points when another 1 minute combined of solid defending would of seen us on maximum points. I would hope it’s that frustration that drives the players on this Sunday. Rangers have to raise their performance from the last two games and hopefully they will produce
The slight dip in our fortunes of course coincides with the loss of our midfielder Lassana Coulibaly and with the manager rating him as extremely doubtful then he looks likely to miss both fixtures. He is our warrior in midfield and the team do miss so much without him, we have to hope someone will step up in his absence if indeed he doesn’t make it. With the national break he will have a few more weeks to recover and hopefully he will be fine for Dundee in the middle of September at the very least. Also great to see Alfredo Morelos getting international recognition with Colombia, let’s hope he is firing over the next few games to boost his confidence even further, as he is as vital to our team as Coulibaly is
With only a few more days of the window left Rangers will strengthen with the arrival of Albanian winger Eros Grezda. Rangers have moved quickly to supplement the squad after the horrific season ending injury to Jamie Murphy. Costing the club a reported £2m plus, it isn’t the cheap option. The player himself arrives with a glowing endorsement from Albanian national team manager Christian Panucci. Described as fast and direct, the apparent star of Osijek which, considering the early viewings of Borna Barisic, that is quite a boast indeed.
In CB position Joe Worrall of Nottingham Forest may arrive before the deadline as Rangers finally look to land CB cover. Worrall is certainly the stature of targets we seem to have targeted during the summer, at 6ft 4′ and international honours with three u21 caps for his country. The rumours of interest in Gareth McAuley may depend on this move happening or they may indeed just be rumours. Jak Alnwick has also been linked with a loan move to former manager Stuart McCall’s new club Scunthorpe, so there may be plenty of movement over the next few days.
With the General meeting also scheduled for Friday, Rangers are certainly entering an extremely busy period on and off the pitch. The share issue being the main point of Friday’s meeting which will bring further investment into the club whilst converting some of the boards previous loans into shares.
It’s never dull supporting our club and it won’t be over the next few days. Whatever happens it shouldn’t deflect from the job the manager has taken on and the strides we have made in that short time. Eleven games unbeaten, a squad turnover of over 35 players and such early promise is enough for me to have faith in the journey we are undertaking. In Steven Gerrard we can trust
Good luck to the players and management over the next few games, give it your everything and leave it all on the pitch
To the supporters who travel to Russia and on Sunday, give it everything and sing as loud as you always do
Ignore the nonsense, the irrelevant and the noise 🔴⚪️🔵