Michael Stewart insists teams will target Rangers’ wide areas in future after conceding five goals across two legs against Royal Antwerp. 

The first leg of the Europa League last 32 tie ended 4-3 in the Gers’ favour before Thursday’s second leg finished 5-2 to the Light Blues.

Rangers struggled in the wide areas in both games and Stewart told BBC Sounds’ Scottish Football Podcast that future opposition will look to expose this perceived weakness.

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He said, “Any team that comes up against Rangers, domestically or in Europe this year, they have to really tune in to where you can get them.

“That wide area is where you’re going to try and get some joy. That’s only one part of it because you’ve got to stop them at the other end as well.

“That’s clearly been a tough task for any team that’s come up against them.”

James Tavernier was absent for the second leg after picking up a knock in the first half of last week’s tie which meant Leon Balogun came in to replace him.

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Balogun is a natural centre half and struggled to keep pace with the Antwerp attackers which is why he was hooked at half time.

Nathan Patterson came on for the second half and made an instant impact, scoring after less than 20 seconds of the second period.

The youngster is a capable full-back but he is inexperienced and better sides could exploit his lack of expertise.

This is why it is vital Tavernier returns in the near future.

It goes without saying that we are a better side with Tavernier fit but in reality, we could’ve managed through some league games without him this season.

However, in the latter stages of a European competition you need your best players available and having talented youth prospects starting matches is far from ideal.

We hate to agree with Stewart on this but we need to strengthen our wide areas to progress against Slavia Prague.

In other Rangers news, Antwerp have sent a classy message to one Gers star. 

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