Ex-Celtic midfielder issues Rangers Champions League verdict and pinpoints one player who could make telling contribution
The Open Goal Broomhill manager reckons Tom Lawrence is a ‘statement’ signing for the Ibrox side as they bid to overturn a 2-0 deficit in Europe.
Former Celtic midfielder Simon Ferry believes Rangers can overcome a 2-0 deficit against Union Saint-Gilloise to book their place in the Champions League play-off round.
The Light Blues have never previously managed to advance from a European tie after losing the first-leg by two or more goals but they need to do just that against the Belgian side at Ibrox tonight.
A two-legged meeting with PSV Eindhoven or Monaco await the winner in the play-off round and Ferry is adamant Rangers will advance with the vocal backing of their own supporters.
The Open Goal podcast star, who is currently in charge of Lowland League side Broomhill, is expecting both Old Firm clubs to enjoy successful continental campaigns this year.
Speaking on behalf of Grosvenor Sport, he said: “Rangers can turn it around. Losing (Joe) Aribo and Calvin Bassey, their two best players, is massive and it’ll take time to rebuild.
“They have signed well but the new players need time to get to know each other and we saw that in the first leg.
“I think it’s all about the bedding in period for Rangers. We saw it with Celtic last year and it took them a while to get into their rhythm.
“Rangers can’t afford to lose the second leg and I have no doubt that with the way they played at Ibrox last year, along with the atmosphere, they’ll go through.
“It’s unfair that Scottish football still gets a bad reputation. People can talk about Rangers in the Europa League last year but the simple fact is, there were four English teams in the Europa League and it was Rangers who ended up reaching the final.”
Ferry pinpointed one Rangers summer signing who he believes can make all the difference against Royale Union Saint-Gilloise.
The ex-Hoops man reckons the club’s run to the Europa League final in Seville last season will have attracted a better calibre of player this summer but he offered an insight into the weight expectation that comes with playing for the two Glasgow giants.
He admitted: “Tom Lawrence is a statement signing from Rangers. He can play anywhere across the front three and is a great replacement for Joe Aribo.
“Seeing Rangers in Europe last year would’ve been a big pull. Players would’ve seen the atmosphere at Ibrox and looked at the calibre of the teams they beat last year and probably thought they were fed up with the Championship and wanted to play in European finals.
“Rangers’ European run has definitely allowed them to attract better players.
“Lawrence is a really good player but you never know how people will react to playing for Celtic and Rangers - anyone that signs for them is a risk.
“They can could be good players elsewhere but when you play in Scotland the pressure is completely different to anywhere else. The fans expect you to win and put so much pressure on you.
“Aaron Ramsey was considered a no-brainer for Rangers and he ended up struggling, so you can play for Arsenal or Juventus but coming up to Celtic or Rangers is a completely different challenge.
“Ben Davies was a standout player for Preston North End. Charlie Mulgrew played against him and told me he was a great player so I have no doubt that Rangers have done their homework.
“Jurgen Klopp thought he was good enough to be involved with the current Liverpool team and so Rangers and Celtic need to take these risks and I believe this one will pay off.”