By Nick Ware

16th Sep, 2021 | 2:10pm

Alan McInally delivers Rangers and Celtic Europa League verdict

Alan McInally suggests progress in the Europa League will be on the backburner for Rangers and Celtic this season.

The Gers enjoyed a run to the last 16 during the 2020/21 campaign before bowing out to Slavia Prague.

Celtic, meanwhile, crashed out at the group stage, finishing bottom of Group H with just one win to their name.

Speaking in a video shared on the Betfair Twitter account ahead of Thursday night’s opening group stage games, Sky Sports pundit McInally has delivered his verdict.

“I’m gonna say it right out,” the ex-Celtic player said. “I don’t think Rangers and Celtic, to be fair, will win the competition. I think it’s all about the domestic year in Scotland, can Celtic manage to get back at Rangers, can Rangers manage to defend the title?

“To be fair to Rangers, they had a really good run last year, a really, really good run. They were really exciting and there were some great nights at Ibrox.”

Doom and gloom

No one is suggesting Rangers should win the competition or are likely to be in with a shot of lifting the trophy, but what’s the point in washing it away and just focusing on the league?

Last season proved that the Gers can last the distance until March, at least, and Steven Gerrard has not lost any key members of his squad since.

In fact, they are strengthened with the arrivals of Fashion Sakala, Juninho Bacuna and John Lundstram, while young talents like Scott Wright and Nathan Patterson are further along in their development.

Given how Rangers swatted away sides in Scotland last season, there’s no reason to put all their eggs in the Premiership basket.

Of course, Celtic are likely to provide much sterner competition this season, but that’s not saying much given the distance between the clubs in the previous campaign.

In other Rangers news, Ally McCoist reacts as Alan Brazil blasts Gary Neville’s recent Ibrox claim.