Former Rangers defender David Weir has warned Steven Gerrard’s side that they are “only two or three games away from a crisis” as they prepare for tomorrow night’s concluding Europa League group match off the back of two damaging results.
The Gers need only a draw at home to Young Boys on Thursday to ensure their passage to the knockout rounds of the competition.
However, they go into the game after a difficult week which saw them relinquish a two-goal lead to draw with Aberdeen in the Premiership and then lose the Betfred Cup final to Celtic despite having more than three times as many shots as their Glasgow rivals.
Weir has said that the Gers face “Armageddon” if they exit the Europa League tomorrow night after those couple of setbacks but he is optimistic that his former club will get the result they need to advance.
He told The Scottish Sun: “Rangers have drawn with Aberdeen, they have lost to Celtic in the cup final.
“The next game becomes Armageddon, you are only two or three games away from a crisis and very quickly that can surround you.
“Thursday becomes a massive game, but it’s a great game for Rangers. They are a better group than the team they are playing, they are at home and they know what they need to do.
“They are expected to progress, there will be an impact from the cup final, but it’s how the players respond to that.
“They have to respond positively. They have got to enjoy the challenge and the manager has already spoken about going again.”
While Weir’s statement that Rangers face “Armageddon” if they lose tomorrow night seems a touch extreme, he is right in fearing that their season could threaten to unravel if they are knocked out of Europe off the back of two disappointing results domestically.
They went into December one win away from a first major trophy since 2011 and level on points at the top of the Premiership, only for the Betfred Cup final defeat to continue Celtic’s monopoly on domestic competitions since 2016 and the Hoops also pulling two points clear in the league.
Having won two and drawn two of their five Europa League games, and after being on the verge of ensuring qualification for the knockout phase two weeks ago only for late goals elsewhere to deny them, it would represent a huge anti-climax if they fail to advance to the last 32, especially when they need just a draw at home to go through.
With Rangers top of Group G going into the final matchday, Weir’s comment that they are superior to Young Boys would seem reasonable.
The Swiss side capitalised on two James Tavernier mistakes to come from behind and beat the ‘Gers with a stoppage-time goal in the reverse fixture in Bern two months ago (as per BBC), although their tally of 11 shots to the Glaswegians’ eight would suggest that 2-1 wasn’t an entirely unfair result.
Young Boys competed in the Champions League group stage last season, so they ought not to be taken lightly, although they have earned just one point from their two away games in the Europa League group this term.
Weir seems to be striking the right note in saying that Rangers should be confident of getting the result they need to maintain their European interest but cannot afford to be complacent and have a point to prove after the setbacks of the last few days.
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