By Saikat Mandal

1st Aug, 2022 | 11:30am

Kris Commons backs Rangers new signing Antonio Colak to shine in Champions League

Kris Commons has backed Rangers new signing Antonio Colak to dazzle in the Champions League as they face Union Saint-Gilloise in the Champions League qualifier.

The Gers will head to Belgium for a crucial game on Tuesday (2 August), where Giovanni van Bronckhorst could be without Alfredo Morelos who is still not fully fit yet.

The Sky Sports pundit feels that Commons can make the difference on the night, as he previously scored a brace for Malmo against Steven Gerrard’s side in this competition. He also suggests that Rangers should fancy themselves to progress.

“Rangers will head to Belgium for tomorrow night’s Champions League qualifier against Union Saint-Gilloise with every chance of progressing,” wrote Commons for The Daily Mail (1 August, page 8).

“USG were the surprise package in last year’s Belgian top flight, finishing top of the table in the regular season before being pipped to the title by Club Brugge in the play-offs which followed. But they have lost their manager Felice Mazzu, who has now moved on to take charge of Anderlecht. Last season’s top scorer, Deniz Undav, has also returned to parent club Brighton after a loan stint.

“So while they might be a dangerous proposition for Rangers, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side should still be favourites to progress. They are coming into this on the back of an outstanding European campaign which saw them reach the Europa League final only a couple of months ago. Alfredo Morelos is so often Rangers’ star man on these big European nights. He has scored so many goals in continental competition throughout his time at Ibrox.

“But he missed the run to Seville due to injury and still isn’t fully fit, so they won’t be able to rely on him in Belgium. Other players stepped in during his absence on the run to Seville and I believe Antonio Colak is the man most likely to do the same in these games against USG.

“The Croatian forward was outstanding for Malmo in this competition last season, scoring twice at Ibrox to dump Rangers out of the Champions League qualifiers. If he can replicate that sort of lethal form in front of goal, he could quickly prove to be a fans’ favourite at his new club.”

Huge game

Rangers have added depth and quality to their squad this season, and this is the first big hurdle they have to cross to enjoy a successful campaign.

The financial incentives are huge, but most importantly, the club deserves to play with the big boys in Europe after their last season’s heroics in the Europa League.

The Croatian forward is one of the seven signings the club have made this summer, and he will be looking to open his scoring account for his new club.

Colak started against Livingston in the previous game and could have had a goal to his name, but he was denied his first goal for the Ibrox side due to an offside flag.

Rangers showed great fighting spirit in their opening game and came from behind to win 2-1 against Livi, with both goals coming in the second half.

With Morelos still missing, the onus of responsibility falls on Colak, and it remains to be seen how he handles the pressure.

In other Rangers news, Ross Wilson now has names lined up just in case Alfredo Morelos seals his exit this summer