Tonight Rangers travel to Portugal to face the giants of the Primeira Liga in Benfica in the first-ever meeting between these two historic behemoths of the European game.
Benfica are of course a true heavyweight of continental competition and have many fine honours and insignia to their name, and while Rangers’ record recently has been absolutely outstanding, there is no question anything from Estádio Sport Lisboa e Benfica would be an absolute bonus.
As Ibrox Noise’s Derek explained, this side is beatable, and just like the style of all Portuguese teams, they’re intense and attacking, and leave a suicidally high defensive line.
Think about Rangers’ two legs v Braga – the winning goal especially was because of a world class lob from Steven Davis which caught their defenders way up the pitch, despite the fact they were winning.
This kind of reckless play is common among Portuguese teams, and it was in motion as Lech Poznan soared into a 2-0 lead last week.
But we know the Lisbon-based giants are no mugs, and while they’re vulnerable at the back, they’re lethal up front and Connor Goldson and Filip Helander will have to be on 100% concentration to stop the potent attack.
But, the big but – anything Rangers do secure is an absolute bonus. 55 is the priority this season, and while the start to the UEL has been absolutely stunning, doing it for a third match in a row, while possible, is not absolutely essential in the grand scheme of things.
What we’re saying is anything below an away win tomorrow won’t kill us, given the calibre of the opposition and the importance of domestic affairs.
This isn’t to say we aren’t wanting to win, because we are. But we’ll stop short of saying anything less than a win is unacceptable, because 55 has to be the target.
Rangers’ immaculate season will come unstuck at some point with a draw or less, and that could be this one. There would be no shame in not winning in Portugal.
But by gum we’d still like to…