As Ibrox Noise’s Derek pointed out a number of days ago, a bit of a pitfall awaits in Berne on Thursday.
While on paper Rangers could actually be a decent match for Young Boys, and indeed Steven Gerrard’s finest hours have in many cases come in Europe, *and* Rangers opened their account in fine fettle with an excellent win over Feyenoord, nevertheless there’s a major hindrance awaiting the Ibrox men come their trip to Europe:
A plastic pitch.
Quite simply, Rangers next-to-never play well on these. Every match at Livi, Killie and Hamilton over the years since promotion has been a significant struggle, with few impressive displays, a lot of bruises and sadly a lot of dropped points.
The one time Rangers did deliver a better display was against Killie in the cup for the 1-3 win which cost Jamie Murphy’s season last time around, so even the better matches have had horrible negatives attached.
So Rangers really need to go against type here and play a decent match on an unforgiving surface they usually struggle on.
Young Boys’ form is currently very decent – they pushed Porto in Portugal on the opening day, and sit a very solid second undefeated in their domestic league, so on top of the pitch and their current form is their reputation too, which is a very well respected one.
But it’s that pitch we’re worried about. Rangers are not at their best on these surfaces, and a number of our players really don’t like them. Helander was hellish on Livi’s, while Nikola Katic has famously struggled along with Goldson on Killie’s.
If Rangers can defy this and take the three points it’ll have been one hell of a good night.