It’s back to the Europa League and Rangers face BSC Young Boys.
On paper, Rangers should have no chance. Young Boys are ranked 62nd in Europe, with a European Football coefficient of 27.5. Rangers are 196th, with an almost comical coefficient of 5.25.
On paper we really just shouldn’t bother turning up. Our first leg victory over Feyenoord was a statistical anomaly and we really shouldn’t be sitting with the European elite, but then again, when did we care what anyone else thinks. We are Rangers, and games aren’t played on paper.
After watching both Feyenoord and Young Boys it is clear as night and day that Feyenoord are the much more technically balanced team, and we didn’t just beat Feyenoord, we played them off the park.
So, Thursday will still be tough, away games always are, but just now Young Boys are stuttering, and stuttering badly.
In the Swiss Super League, they have won 5 and drawn 4, and most of their goals are coming through just one player, their star midfielder, Jean-Pierre Nsame.
If you thought Rangers were over reliant on Morelos last year, this year Young Boys have scored 18 goals in the Swiss League, with Nsame has scored eight of them.
That is quite an incredible goal haul for a midfielder, but it also means their forwards have scored only once, yes only once in nine matches, and that one solitary goal came just this week, against Sion.
So, it’s going to be a very different game from Feyenoord, but that’s what makes European nights so very special.
Feyenoord played like their manager. They pass the ball straight from defence to attack, with the midfield looking like an after-thought. Young Boys are almost all midfield, with a reasonable but not very solid defensive line.
I have to say, when I was reviewing their recent games, I was expecting a far more impressive Young Boys team.
Instead, all I can say is they are reasonably well drilled (all teams are at this high level), but they very clearly struggle when they face teams that run at them at speed.
They also like to play a high-press, and though this does produce results for them, they are also far too often caught out when they play against even average teams.
However, perhaps their greatest weakness is their stamina. Against Porto it was clear their players were tiring towards the end.
It’s hard to predict European games. It’s another match on a synthetic pitch. Teams always raise their game when playing on the European stage and one player can always turn a game around with once crazy piece of skill, but I honestly believe we will go one better than the team led by Jock Wallace in 1977, and I expect Rangers to beat Young Boys both home and away.
…I wonder if John Greig remembers his goal?