A toiling Rangers shipped four goals for a second successive match as they were swept aside by a rampant Ajax side on their return to the Champions League after a 12-year absence.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side suffered another disasterous result in Amsterdam, with goals from Edson Alvarez, Steven Berghuis, Mohammed Kudus and Steven Bergwijn capping a miserable few days for the Glasgow giants.
Rangers looked devoid of spirit and quality from the outset and were dead and buried by half-time once again.
The Eredivisie champions, who brought in a combined total of €230million in transfer fees from player sales over the summer, simply outclassed their opponents, with ex-Gers defender Calvin Bassey starring against his old club.
This was a performance that will have concered Van Bronckhorst and Rangers now return home fareful of what may lie ahead with games against Napoli and Ajax up next in Group A.
GlasgowWorld reflects on the three main talking points on a tough night for the Light Blues in the Netherlands...
Rangers set-piece struggles continue
Ajax had certainly done their homework on Rangers’ recent struggle to defend set pieces. Alfred Schreuder’s side were knocking on the door of Jon McLaughlin’s goal straight from kick-off.
A real cause for concern for Van Bronckhorst would have been his side’s failure to deal with another dead ball into their penalty area. Rangers switched off from a corner kick, allowing Alvarez a free header to open the scoring.
James Sands was the man at fault for failing to pick up his marker, but captain James Tavernier and Connor Goldson were both caught under the ball.
The manner in which they conceded will be a worry considering the defensive line would have tried to rectify the issues that saw them gift Celtic at least two goals on Saturday.
Ibrox side outclassed by Dutch giants
Ajax quite simply looked a class above Rangers on the night and were good value for their four-goal winning margin.
The Dutch outfit were already dominating when they broke the deadlock after 17 minutes and the end scoreline could’ve been even greater had it not been for a series of impressive saves from McLaughlin, especially in the first-half.
Ajax were content to play a high line and found a lot of space in and around the Rangers box. Some of their passing and movement was a joy to watch in the opening 45 minutes.
John Lundstram and Glen Kamara were torn apart in the middle of the park and defensively Rangers were abject. They also lacked an attacking threat, with striker Antonio Colak failing to touch the ball inside the Ajax box throughout the match.
Damage limitation mode on Matchday 1
Giovanni van Bronckorst reverted to a flat back five in an attempt to stem the tide of Ajax pressure. He made three alterations at half-time with Ryan Jack, Rabbi Matondo and youngster Leon King all introduced.
It was no surprise the Dutchman turned to his bench as early as he did after watching his side carved open far too easily in the first-half.
Van Bronckhorst was eager to limit number of Ajax opportunities, with Lundstram dropping back to centre-half and it worked for much of the second half.
The hosts found Rangers harder to break down but Jack’s error allowed Bergwijn to round McLaughlin and roll home a fourth goal in the closing stages to compound a miserable evening.