Are Gerrard’s Gers going to Gdansk?

Credit: “Ibrox Stadium Panorama” by aitkenheadImages is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It is safe to say that Rangers and their fans have suffered massively over the last decade. The club suffered due to financial troubles back in 2012 plunging the club to the depths of Scottish football forcing them to start again.

They rebuilt their team over the years and gained promotion to the Scottish Premiership in season 2016-17.

Memories and glory nights of European tales had long since been a distant memory and even with winning the Scottish Championship and mixing it with the top table the fans would have to wait a couple more years to fully start to enjoy those famous European adventures again.

A six year exodus was ended albeit abruptly in 2017 when despite taking a lead to Luxembourg to face minnow side Progres Niederkorn they fell at the first hurdle losing two goals and being eliminated at the first qualifying round of the Europa League.

The following season saw a dramatic upturn in fortunes when incredibly Rangers appointed former Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard as manager.

Credit: “Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard prepares to take a free kick against Aston Villa at Anfield” by Ben Sutherland is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Rangers avoided the banana skin of minnows this time as they beat the Slovenian side Maribor and FC UFA of Russia to be paired with the big boys in Group G.

Rapid Vienna, Spartak Moscow and Villareal awaited Gerrard`s side and impressed briefly with home and away draws against the La Liga side as well as a home victory against Rapid Vienna.

It was baby steps clearly for the Kop hero who was taking his first steps into management.
Progres would pop up again last season however with a more favourable outcome for the Ibrox side and with a high scoring win against FC Midtjylland Rangers felt like they were getting back to the top of their game.

An unbeaten run of fixtures against FC Porto and Feyenoord home and away set them up for qualification for the last 32 and even reached the last 16 before falling to Bayer Leverkusen.
This campaign started with trepidation for the Blue side of Glasgow as Celtic after securing their ninth consecutive title were aiming for a tilt at ten, however one disaster after another befell the Parkhead side and Rangers went from strength to strength going on an impressive unbeaten run including two derby day victories over Celtic.

In terms of Europe they are last ones standing and still flying the flag for Scotland, An incredible match last Thursday saw Gerrard’s men take a 4-3 lead back to Ibrox as they attempt to finish off Belgian side Royal Antwerp and securing a place in the last 16 for a second consecutive season.

The question is though, How far can Rangers go in Europe this season?

Well in a tournament that still features top flight English sides such as Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham as well as serial Europa League winners Shakhtar Donetsk not many people will fancy them to lift the trophy come May however even at 25-1 at some bookmakers they may be worth a punt as previous campaigns and scalps have shown.

They have the bit between their teeth at the moment and with a bit of luck along the way I wouldn’t bet against them featuring at the Stadion Energa in Gdansk.

Rangers are guaranteed to be playing Champions League football next season if they can manoeuvre their way out of the qualifiers and then the fans will be desperate to get back to the games to savour the top table of European Football.

Published by Gaz Smith

I am a massive Celtic and Newcastle United fan as well as a keen sportswriter who has previously had spells at The Daily Record, Evening Times among others and have interviewed some big name Personalities of the Scottish Game. I also run The Celtic FC Appreciation page on Facebook and Instagram

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