Rangers- a genuine European contender?

Steven Gerard's time at Rangers FC has had mixes reviews, rightly or wrongly?

Andrew White
16th March 2020
Image: @RangersFC (Twitter)

Steven Gerrard finds himself in a weird predicament at Rangers, the English press are singing his praises, while the Scottish press are hounding him out of the club.

In December, Gerrard led rangers to their first win at Celtic Park in a decade, leaving Rangers two points behind Celtic with a game in hand.

Everything was rosy, Gerrard was linked with bigger jobs, in particular Liverpool - Jurgen Klopp adressed these rumours by saying Gerrard "should be my sucessor".

Since the winter break, Rangers domestic form has been nothing short of shambolic.

Rangers have won only three league games since the break, lost to bottom of the league Hearts twice, been knocked out the Scottish Cup and now find themselves 15 points behind Celtic.

Big questions have been asked of Gerrard's future at the club and how long he will remain at the helm.

Rangers fans themselves are polarised, "Gerrard out" has been a frequent response to Rangers twitter posts. Despite this, Rangers fans this week conducted an 8th minute applause in their game against Hamilton, to show their support of Gerrard.

Following this applause, Rangers lost 1-0, and Celtic this weekend had their own 8th minute applause to mock Gerrard.

With so many negatives, what is keeping Gerrard in the job?... Europa League heroics.

Genuine contenders?

This season has seen Rangers have a fruitfful Europa League campaign that started all the way back in July against Gilbraltan outfit St Joseph's.

Rangers then came up against Progres, Midtjylland and Legia Warsaw, just to progress to the group stages.

A group of death of Young Boys, Feyenoord and Porto meant that Rangers were given little chance of getting out of the group stages.

Wins against Porto and Feyenoord provided two famous Ibrox European nights and has propelled Scotland up in Uefa's co-efficent ratings. Meaning from next season, runners-up in the Scottish Premeirship will now compete in the Champions League qualifiers.

Rangers have proven that the Old-Firm clubs are a genuine threat in European competition once again.

The Scottish Premier League is arguably the most mocked league in Europe, but it's worth remmebering that Celtic defeated Serie A leaders Lazio home and away in the group stage to knock them out the Europa League.

In the round of 32, Rangers defeated Portugese giants Braga home and away, progressing to the last 16 where they'll play Bayer Leverkusen.

Rangers will most definitely be underdogs against Leverkusen, but it's this environment where Gerrard's Rangers have thrived. When they're underdogs, they step up. When they're favourites, they struggle.

Don't write Rangers off, Gerrard has European pedigree after winning the Champions League and UEFA Cup as a player, he knows what it takes to win in European competiton despite lacking a Domestic league win as both player and manager.

Having spent the most money in Scotland in both his years in charge, Gerrard leading Rangers to a first European final since 2008, may be the only thing that can help him keep his job.

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