Reaction to Rangers’ drawn opponent has been mixed, from some bizarre fear over the mighty Union Saint Gilloise, to more moderate confidence with caution.
We are definitely in the latter group, and consider the draw which UEFA’s Tom Barlow pulled out to have been about the best we could have had.
While the Belgian side are no pushovers, when push comes to shove they’re no goliaths and crumbled under the pressure of the Jupiler’s split last season, squandering a healthy 5 point lead and choking to finish overall second once the split started.
So this is a side that cracks under pressure for sure.
What’s more telling is that tiny coefficient – just 6, only marginally higher than the unseeded sides in the first round.
Of course, this is because they’ve returned to the top flight after a LONG absence, and they’re effectively a new club in Belgium, having been away since 1973 – so they have absolutely no European history at all and last won the title 100 years ago. Give or take.
Do we know much about them? Nope – we’re not going to be like the usual media outlets who pretend to be experts on obscure topics – we’d never heard of this side before we started looking into UCL qualifiers in the Spring as part of normal Ibrox Noise research, so we won’t fill you with an indepth tactical analysis that we don’t have at the moment.
But what we do know is those reacting like we’re facing Bayern are embarrassing themselves and the club. What we do is show Union the respect they have earned – they are in the UCL by right, and they will work hard to earn a place in the playoffs.
But Rangers have enough to get past them, and let’s try not to forget we made the UEL final last season. We’re not bad in Europe so we’ve got a chance.
Getting to the UCL group stage is priority number one, we have to get there, because even though our finances are in infinitely better shape than they were even before January, nevertheless, that £40M is waiting for us.
After that, it’s all about the SPL and getting 56 back.
But one thing at a time.