By Saikat Mandal

27th Feb, 2022 | 11:55am

Cristiano Piccini makes Rangers admission ahead of Europa League knock-out tie

Rangers will face Red Star Belgrade in the Round of 16 knock-out stages of the Europa League.

Red Star defender Cristiano Piccini has admitted that he “couldn’t believe” the Gers had knocked out Borussia Dortmund from the competition.

The first leg will be played at Ibrox, and the 29-year-old defender has suggested that will need to defend for the lives in order to knock the Gers out.

The Serbian has suggested that they have got “one of the worst” possible teams, considering the form the Bears are in at the moment.

He said, as quoted by the Daily Record: “I couldn’t believe they knocked Borussia Dortmund out in the last 16.

“That has demonstrated to me the huge level Rangers are at and this will not be a comfortable match for us.

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“The key for us in these games will be to stop Rangers scoring because they are dangerous in attack, as they showed against Dortmund.

“But it’s not easy to score against us this season. So if we maintain a good score in Glasgow, it will increase our chances of winning at home.

“I don’t expect the same kind of game Rangers had against Dortmund with lots of goals. That is not our style of match.”

Interesting phase

It will be interesting to see how Rangers approach these games.

There are whispers already that while reaching the knockout stages in Europe is a fantastic achievement, it won’t make any difference if they lose the Scottish Premiership crown to Celtic.

Focussing on Europe can sometimes hamper the domestic form, and Rangers must be cautious as they are already behind Celtic by three points.

Having said that, after beating Dortmund 6-4 on aggregate in a spectacular fashion, Rangers must prepare this game properly.

The lack of experience is also another important factor here.

The Gers will undergo a daunting trip to 55,000 Rajko Mitic Stadium, nicknamed the Maracana.

It is considered as one of those grounds that can create a hostile atmosphere, and keeping their calm and composure will be a big ask.

Rangers need to take a big lead in the first leg at Ibrox, but right now their entire focus should be on getting points against Motherwell.

In other Rangers news, there was one unfortunate Light Blue who did not come out of Thursday night a winner.