Ex-Rangers defender believes Ibrox side CAN make it to UCL group

Ex-Rangers defender believes Ibrox side CAN make it to UCL group
Former Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure shows the paper slip of Scotland's Rangers during the draw for the UEFA Champions League football tournament 2022-2023 in Istanbul on August 25, 2022. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)

Ex-Rangers defender Maurice Ross believes Rangers and Michael Beale can defy the current malaise and qualify for the Champions League group stage, but concedes time is against the Rangers boss.

Speaking to alt index and Ibrox Noise he said:

“There is no reason why Rangers can’t qualify for the Champions League but there is clearly pressure on Michael Beale and his players to beat Servette tonight and put on a good performance to get the Kilmarnock result out of their system. I’ve been really impressed with the recruitment and I like the type of players that have been signed. Some settle quicker than others but the problem at Rangers – and Celtic – is you don’t get time.

He went on:

“So, there is an added edge for tonight’s Ibrox game but I fully believe they are more than good enough to beat Servette over two legs and make it to the play-off round. It looks certain they’ll face PSV Eindhoven there after their emphatic win over Sturm Graz last night and they are a good side with a great pedigree.

He also reckons there’s a chance against PSV, despite the colossal performance v the Austrians from the Dutch goliaths.

“But Rangers can definitely go toe-to-toe with the Dutch side. They proved that last year. Of course, these occasions are intense. I was involved in one back in 2001 when I was quite a nervous young man when I came on at half-time in Istanbul against Fenerbahce.We should have beaten them that night and felt mugged we lost 2-1. We had shots cleared off the line and all sorts but these are the fine lines in these huge matches. It meant we dropped into the UEFA Cup – Europa League as it is now – and we went on a very good run to reach the last 16. I’ll never forget that night in France when we beat Paris St Germain on penalties and they had stars like Ronaldinho, Nicolas Anelka and Gabriel Heinze – not forgetting a young Mikel Arteta.”

However the realism is stark when Maurice compares the Europa League with the Champions League:

“The gulf in class between Champions League and Europa League is huge now. As much as you want to be there and get that Champions League money, it might not be a bad thing to operate at Europa League level – a level you’re more comfortable with. Michael Beale will want to win European matches and this would give him more of an opportunity. There is an almost unbearable pressure because even although everyone knows there is a huge difference Rangers are still expected to make a fist of it. Last season was so hard to watch at times. Sure, Liverpool, for example, were expected to beat Rangers but the galling part was that Rangers didn’t lay a glove on them.”

Not quite accurate, 1-1 at half time as Rangers were well in it at Ibrox, and we’re not sure fans would agree the following is a downside either!

“The downside of Europa League is that Rangers would be playing catch-up most weekends as their fixtures would switch to a Sunday after each group game.”

But as we said earlier, it’s all about opinions!

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