Thursday, 20 September 2018

Rangers are at a huge disadvantage v Villarreal

When Rangers take the field at el-Madrigal tonight, something striking will separate our boys in blue from their yellow hosts – experience.

The reality is Villarreal are filled with players with Champions League, world cup, Europa League experience – in short terms, the highest levels there are. Cazorla, Bacca, Soriano etc all have past experience of this kind of level.

Rangers, on the other hand, have a real disadvantage here – only Allan McGregor and Kyle Lafferty have experience of the best levels of European competition, while the rest of the squad has never played higher than the play offs of the Europa League.

For all that we admire the Arfields, Coulibalys, Goldsons and Barisics, they have zero experience at this kind of level and that is a real weakness. As is our manager's own - he's been in the job five minutes!

Obviously, the only way you get experience is participation, but Rangers are filled with a lot of players who have no idea what this level is like, or what it takes to win at it.

So it’s why we temper our expectations for tonight. We hope that the likes of Couli, Laff and Arfield show up on the big stage and deliver what we need, but we don’t expect it.

This is a new team, with barely any experience of competing at this kind of level, and anything we take from Madrigal is a bonus.

Steven Gerrard can get the team right. The tactics right. Formation right. But when they cross that white line, they have to call on more to win.

Let’s hope our team can step up and perform a big rites of passage tonight.

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