We’re delighted to welcome former Rangers manager Alex McLeish as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Ibrox…
Alex McLeish has picked out Royal Antwerp duo Lior Refaelov and Dieumerci Mbokani as the players Rangers must watch out for in the Europa League.
The Gers finished top of their group and narrowly missed out on a Round of 32 fixture with Arsenal which Benfica ended up with.
McLeish believes that the Belgian side won’t be an easy game though and that the Bears must keep track of these two dangermen especially.
Speaking exclusively to Ibrox News, McLeish said, “Antwerp weren’t in the league when I was there but they were on a kind of burst. They have some older players in the team just now, certainly upfront.
“Refaelov and Mbokani, he’s so quick, so rapid – he’s 34 or 35-years-old now. Rafaelov is a similar age, but he’s a smashing centre-attacking midfielder. While they may not have the legs anymore, they will provide the danger for Rangers.”
Antwerp shared a group with Premier League side Tottenham in the previous round and even shocked them in Belgium 1-0 back in October.
Rangers and Steven Gerrard will be desperate to go as far as they can in the Europa League, especially after crashing out of the League Cup against St. Mirren this week.
Mbokani has only scored six goals in his 20 outings this season, whereas Refaelov has been much more potent with his eight goals and four assists.
The Israeli-born Belgian is the clear threat, and it will be down to the likes of Ryan Jack and Steven Davis to keep him quiet – something Spurs couldn’t do back in October.
The Belgian side may have caused some upsets on the European stage, but domestically their season could have gone much better.
Antwerp currently sit seventh as things stand, and this is a game that the Bears should realistically cruise through, and there will be no excuses if not.
In other Rangers news, Alex McLeish suggests if Morelos will ‘suffer’ from SFA charge