By Adefunmiloye Alani

13th Sep, 2021 | 11:15am

Kris Commons: Rangers must find strength in face of adversity vs Lyon

Rangers begin their Europa League campaign against Lyon on Thursday, and Kris Commons wants them to look beyond their injury crisis.

Steven Gerrard’s men are down to their bare bones at the back, with Leon Balogun the only primary centre-back available for selection.

Connor Goldson is currently in self-isolation and was missing against St. Johnstone at the weekend, while Filip Helander is a major doubt having been stretchered off.

Jack Simpson was not registered for the group stages, and Gerrard could be forced to play left-back Calvin Bassey or one of his defensive midfielders at centre-back.

Commons sees the similarities between the Bears crisis and the depleted Celtic side that took on Barcelona in the Champions League in 2012 and secured a famous victory, and he hopes they can be inspired against the Ligue 1 outfit.

The Hoops hero wrote in his Scottish Daily Mail column: “For Rangers, there are times in football when you can find strength and unity in the face of adversity.

“When I think back to my own career at Celtic, our squad was decimated by injuries when we beat Barcelona in the Champions League in 2012. I was having to slot in as a sort of right wing-back at times, a position I’d never played in my life.

“But you knuckle down and put in a shift. You have to rally in the face of a crisis. If they do that, then Rangers might just find their own Tony Watt to pop up and become a hero.”

Tough challenge

Lyon were in fine form at the weekend, with former Celtic duo Moussa Dembele and Jason Denayer grabbing a goal each in the 3-1 win over Strasbourg.

The duo will be relishing their return to Scotland to face an old enemy, and Rangers have to be on top of their game if they want to begin their European campaign on an impressive note.

Having Balogun as the only centre-back available is a massive blow, and it is safe to say the Ibrox outfit do not have enough squad depth at the back as thought.

They will be hoping their fans can rally them to needed victory, but there is little they can do when their team is not defensively solid.

Even with all their centre-back options available, Rangers struggled during the Champions League qualifiers and have already lost in the league this term.

Playing Lyon with a makeshift defence will be a huge task, and if the Light Blues manage to get a result from the game, it would be huge for their morale in the competition going forward.

In other Rangers news, Barry Ferguson says he’s surprised Bears didn’t sign 21y/o ace in the summer.