By Saikat Mandal

29th Apr, 2022 | 1:06pm

Keith Jackson blown away by Rangers defending v RB Leipzig

Rangers will hope they can produce yet another masterclass performance at Ibrox in the second leg after suffering a narrow defeat against RB Leipzig.

The Gers produced a gritty performance as they lost 1-0 against Leipzig in the Europa League semi-final first leg on Thursday.

Keith Jackson, the Daily Record columnist, has praised the Gers’ defending (29 April, page 69) and he was left impressed with the tactical set-up from the Dutchman.

Many had predicted that the Gers will be ripped apart by the Germans given the form they were in. However, Rangers will feel confident they can turn it around in the second leg.

“This was the kind of performance which Smith used to take his side all the way to Manchester,” wrote Jackson for The Daily Record.

“And the lack of space afforded to Leipzig seemed to stymie the home players and stop them in their tracks. Only twice in that opening half did they get so much as a sight at Allan McGregor’s goal and on both occasions, they were snuffed out by some colossus defending.

“First Calvin Bassey blocked dangerman Christopher Nkunku 10 yards out and then, on the half-hour mark James Tavernier threw his body on the line to charge down a thumping effort from the lively Angelino at McGregor’s back post.

“In between times Connor Goldson executed a perfectly timed tackle just when Konrad Lamier was all set to tug on the trigger. But, not only did Rangers make it safely to the break, they were actually starting to settle into this shift to such an extent that they were looking perfectly comfortable out there.”

Big second leg

Giovanni van Bronckhorst will hope that he will get either Aaron Ramsey or Kemar Roofe, or both, back for the return leg. 

At Ibrox, it will be a different situation. Rangers need to score and if they can get an early goal, the entire scenario will change. 

The situation is similar to what it was in the previous round. Rangers trailed by 1-0 against Braga but they produced a heroic performance at Ibrox to seal the tie. 

Having said that, the Gers lacked a focal point in their attack against the Germans. However, they did their job really well, and they are much alive in this competition. 

The likes of Conor Goldson, Calvin Bassey and James Tavernier were superb last night, while Ryan Jack was simply outstanding for the club. 

It’s highly unlikely that the Gers will put up a strong team against Celtic at the weekend as the Dutchman may not want to jeopardise their European campaign. 

In other Rangers news, Leipzig aimed a sly dig at the Gers on social media after their first-leg victory in Germany.