It’s all about 56 for Rangers now

It’s all about 56 for Rangers now
Rangers Belgian manager Philippe Clement looks on prior the UEFA Europa League last 16 first leg football match between SL Benfica and Glasgow Rangers at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on March 7, 2024. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP) (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

So now that the dust has settled and Rangers’ European adventure (distraction) is over, we can concentrate on what truly matters this season and always did – 56.

Ibrox Noise was very outspoken some weeks ago in admitting that while of course we’d scream for the win v Benfica, ultimately it wasn’t the prize.

A squad decimated with injury and only having two strikers (neither of whom have been spectacular) wasn’t really in a place to seriously challenge Liverpool or Bayer Levekusen or indeed Milan for the Europa League.

But domestic affairs are very much in our own hands, 56 is in our own hands even if there will be further twists and turns before the end of the season.

We just didn’t have the squad to cope with both domestic and Europe – we couldn’t handle 3 competitions.

Couldn’t handle it in 2008 or 2022, and Celtic couldn’t handle it in 2003. It’s something Scottish teams can’t cope with, massive European runs while excelling in the league. None of the above won much in any of those seasons – Gio of course managing to get the Scottish Cup as an exception.

And add in this case missing around 10+ players and Europe was just too much for us this season.

We did credibly well. Not great, but credibly. Last 16 was a good haul, but our European journey wasn’t on the level of Sevilla – Clement got two wins, both in the group stage – in Betis, and at home to Prague. He drew with Prague and Limassol and then drew with Benfica before losing to them. 2 wins, 3 draws and a loss. It’s ok, good even, but it wasn’t worth the distraction.

Now we concentrate on domestic, on 56 and the Scottish Cup, because the prize for us, for Rangers, is an automatic group spot in the Champions League.

We’re a little unclear if Celtic as champions would still be qualifiers, this season or next, but that’s kind of irrelevant to us anyway.

56 took on an even more critical significance, and with Europe out of the way, Rangers will be fresher for the rest of the season at home.

It is imperative we shake Europe out of our system and get on with what really matters.

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