Rangers are finally set to get life with Michael Beale as manager under at Ibrox on Saturday in his maiden voyage as the captain of the ship, and there’s no doubt Rangers fans expect.
Bayer Leverkusen come to Govan for the first time since Kai Havertz’ Germans destroyed Steven Gerrard’s insipid side in the last 16 two years ago, a match we now know Rangers could and should have pushed more for given how strong they’d been in the UEL up till then.
For some reason, Gerrard took all the punch from the side, and the team stood off the opponent in both legs, whereas last season of course against the ‘equivalent’ in both Dortmund and Leipzig, Rangers’ prevailed under former boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst.
And now, under Michael Beale, Gerrard’s then-assistant of course, Rangers have a small and symbolic chance for some mild ‘revenge’ as 2020’s conquerors come to Govan for the new boss’s first test as chief.
Of course, it’s worth remembering this Leverkusen is night and day to that one, and languish pitifully in 12th place in the Bundesliga, despite still having most of the players that put Rangers to the sword. Havertz, obviously, is the big departure, but most of the rest remain there.
Which means Rangers won’t have it easy, despite the visitors’ rather poor season by their standards.
Funnily enough though Leverkusen in their last three competitive matches before the break, have just gone on their strongest run of results since May, with three wins in a row, before doing the same in USA in a friendly.
So they’ve just suddenly clutched a bit of momentum.
But all eyes are on Rangers and Beale, and showing us a bit of something under the new boss to demonstrate we’re about to start going in the right direction.
Bear in mind though, he still has just four defenders fit, so there are still limitations – fans suddenly expecting a Rangers iron curtain at the back may have forgotten we only have Tavernier, King, Sands and Devine actually available for the manager to choose from.
New boss syndrome may not do a lot to fix that…