Can Rangers win the Europa League?

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Rangers' head coach Steven Gerrard pictured during a press conference of Scotish club Rangers FC, Wednesday 21 October 2020, in Liege. Tomorrow they will meet Belgian soccer Standard de Liege in the first day of the group phase (group D) of the UEFA Europa League competition. BELGA PHOTO VIRGINIE LEFOUR (Photo by VIRGINIE LEFOUR/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

As 55 closes in with immense predictability, Ibrox Noise’s attention turns parallel to something else that has been rather forgotten a tad in the past few weeks, thanks to the European winter break.

Rangers’ announcement yesterday of their squad for Royal Antwerp in the last 32 of the UEL reminded us all we still have a European tournament to contend for, and the reality is, this Rangers team has no limits and we have no hesitation in pronouncing ourselves legit contenders for going very far indeed.

Antwerp, with all due respect, are about as weak an opponent as we could have had, and should be a formality. They are not strong, and if Rangers show up with full professionalism and play like we can at this level, it will be the last 16 beckoning. It’s that simple.

But with the astonishing progress under Gerrard at this level season by season, Rangers have every chance of making the quarters and possibly even further.

No one gave us a hope in hell in 2008, and we have a better UEL team now than we did then.

So why not believe – because the reality is this side is capable. It’s not even hearsay, it’s not optimism, it’s fact. It’s beaten some of the best European teams, the Portos, the Feynoords, the Lieges – and it should damn well have beaten Benfica while it was at it.

So it’s not ridiculous to suggest the team is capable of great things at this level.

Winning the Europa League? Why not?

True, we’re getting ahead of ourselves, and it’s even coming across as arrogant complacence. And we ARE respectful of opponents at this level.

It’s just our manager has taken us to a height in Europe we could never have dreamed of, and he’s cemented it to make us not only grasp it but downright expect it.

Without being too arrogant, of course.

Whether we go far or not, whether we win this thing or not, Stevie has made Rangers serious at this level, serious in a way that believing we can win isn’t even a ridiculous thought.

That’s progress.

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