Rangers face an uphill battle to make it through to the Europa League knockout stage after suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat to Sparta Prague in the Czech Republic, leaving them bottom of Group A.
A first-half header from David Hancko was enough to hand Pavel Vrba’s side all three points on a night when Czech football was once again subject to disgraceful scenes of racism.
The Light Blues miserable evening was compounded when Glen Kamara, who was booed throughout the game, received his marching orders after picking up to yellow cards.
The Finland international was racially abused by Ondrej Kudela of Sparta’s city rivals Slavia last season and sadly Thursday night’s game was once again overshadowed by outrageous scenes of hostility.
Here, GlasgowWorld rates how Steven Gerrard’s side performed:
ALLAN McGREGOR – 8
The ever-dependable veteran goalkeeper had a busy night, producing three outstanding saves to keep his side in the contest. Jakub Pesek, Martin Mincev and Lukas Haraslin were all denied but could do little to prevent Hancko’s header from crossing the line.
JAMES TAVERNIER – 6
Despite a positive start, the Rangers captain was unable to burst forward as much as he would’ve liked and was caught out on several occasions next to a makeshift central defensive partnership.
LEON BALOGUN – 5
Passed up two good chances in either half but never looked settled alongside Bassey and it was clear from this showing he missed the presence of Connor Goldson beside him.
CALVIN BASSEY – 4
A night to forget for the left-back who struggled to adapt Sparta’s pace and movement in an unfamiliar position. Was caught napping as Hancko beat him to a header that proved decisive.
BORNA BARISIC – 5
Still looks well short of last season’s impressive form. The Croatian international sent across one or two decent deliveries but was not as effective as Steven Gerrard will have wanted him to be.
STEVEN DAVIS – 6
The 37-year-old worked hard to try to dictate the play but faced a near impossible task in the second half following the dismissal of Kamara. Steady but not spectacular.
GLEN KAMARA – 5
Energetic as always but was shamefully subjected to another shocking display of racism by young Sparta Prague supporters. Wretched night capped by sending off. Will feel second yellow card was incredibly soft.
JOE ARIBO – 6
Looked bright operating on the right side of a front three in the first half but failed to impact the game after dropping back into midfield and was withdrawn after Kamara’s red card.
JUNINHO BACUNA – 4
Handed his first start after signing from Huddersfield Town during the summer. Not the debut he would have wanted after being forced off injured on 37 minutes with a thigh strain.
KEMAR ROOFE – 5
Frustrating night for the Jamaican who had a quiet night. Always willing to receive the ball and swung in a dangerous cross in the second half that no one could get on the end off. Appeared unhappy to be replaced by Morelos with 25 minutes remaining.
FASHION SAKALA – 7
Decent performance from the lively Zambian who was selected over Morelos. Cause the home side problems with his pace and had a goal disallowed for offside in the second half. Can be satisfied with his night’s work.
IANIS HAGI – 4
Came on to replace the injured Bacuna during the first half but couldn’t repeat his Livingston heroics. Had a deflected effort well saved.
ALFREDO MORELOS – 3
Introduced after 66 minutes for Roofe and but never got the big chance he would have craved.
JOHN LUNDSTRAM – 2
Had little time to make an impact after coming on for Aribo.