Sparta v Rangers preview – Stevie up against it

Sparta v Rangers preview – Stevie up against it
Pavel Vrba, coach of Sparta, speaks during a press conference, PK, Pressekonferenz prior to Europa League football Group A match Sparta Prague vs Glasgow Rangers in Prague, Czech Republic, September 29, 2021. CTKxPhoto/MichalxKamaryt CTKPhotoP2021092907353 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxCZExSVK kmt

It’s not so much losing Connor Goldson is a big blow for the trip to Prague, it’s the fact Rangers’ defensive options are so thin, the midfield isn’t functioning too well and attack has been stuttering.

Whatever we say about being top of the domestic table, which of course is wonderful and defies the form, the performances in Europe have been less than impressive this season, with the side coming up well short v Swedish champions Malmo, before toiling against Alashkert, and then being roundly thumped by Lyon.

Going to Prague v a side pretty much equal to our last 16 conquerors Slavia doesn’t exactly bode brilliantly, and where Ibrox Noise’s Derek told you our Czech foes are down a number of key players, sadly, so are we.

Our hopes tonight? Low. Quite simply our form hasn’t been good, and worse sides than Prague have had us struggling this term.

We always said SPL was our priority such is the auto CL qualification awaiting the champions this season, Europe was just a bonus this term, and tonight really will see quite the test.

Goldson’s absence, as well as that of Helander, Jack and Kent does see Rangers down four men who would have likely started this one, so the backline, while not exactly makeshift, will surely see Calvin Bassey in the middle alongside Balogun. Can’t help feeling the Simpson/Katic angle is on a few fans’ minds today.

In midfield we’ll be fascinated to see if Stevie brings Steven Davis back in or sticks with the in-form Lundstram (or goes with both), while up front is probably going to be Hagi, Morelos and Roofe.

Either way this will be a tough test, and we expect little.

Is this team better than Lyon? They struggled on the opening day v Brondby, and while they attacked a tonne more than the home team, the 0-0 was probably fair.

So they’re not in currently magical European form, albeit they have gone all season with just a single domestic loss, to Czech leaders Plzen.

We just think technically they’ll have too much for us, and even a point from this would be a great result.

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