Nine-in-a-row hero adamant Rangers have "as good a chance as any" of winning Europa League

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Mark Hateley reckons European progress has Rangers fans believing they can wrestle back the Scottish Premiership title from Celtic

Rangers nine-in-a-row icon Mark Hateley insists his old club have as good a chance as any team of winning the Europa League this season.

Philippe Clement's side advanced to the last 16 of competition after their heroic 3-2 victory over Real Betis in December. They will discover their next round opponents when the draw takes place at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday, February 23. And Ibrox hero Hateley reckons it would be silly to write off his former team as genuine contenders to lift the silverware this term after showcasing exactly what they're capable of on the continent in recent years.

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Speaking exclusively to, the former Gers striker said: "Rangers go straight through to the last 16 and they can’t draw an English side which will help. They have as good a chance as any team in that competition. The January transfer window could be key as to how far they go.

"Ten minutes before the end of the Real Betis game, Rangers were heading down to the Europa Conference League. It is a case of very small margins that can change the club’s fate. Now they’re straight into the last 16 of the Europa League. That gathers them a vast amount of money and more televised matches.

"However, in the space of ten minutes it could have gone the other way – that’s how fine the margins are. With the way they’re playing at the moment, who’s to say that they can’t go further in the competition. I feel confident in the team, as do the fans."

Hateley believes their performances against the likes of Betis will give fans confidence that they can go on to win the Scottish Premiership title too. Celtic currently have an eight-point lead over their arch rivals, but the Gers have two games in hand - the first of which comes against Hibernian at Easter Road tonight.

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Hateley admitted: "Rangers will be excited with where they are right now because it gives everybody great belief that they actually have the ability to win the Scottish Premiership. They’re in the last 16 of the Europa League and they were in the final not so long ago. Rangers fans always believe that they can achieve and they will always stick behind the team."

Rangers possible Europa League last 16 opponents

Possible opponents include the eight Champions League drop-outs – Galatasaray, Lens, Braga, Benfica, Feyenoord, AC Milan, Young Boys and Shakhtar Donetsk.

OR one of the Europa League group runners-up – SC Freiburg, Marseille, Sparta Prague, Sporting Lisbon, Toulouse, Rennes, Roma and Qarabag. 

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