By Joe Ellis

1st Aug, 2022 | 7:49pm

Rangers leave John Souttar in Glasgow for Champions League qualifier

Rangers have opted to leave defender John Souttar at home as they head to Belgium for their Champions League qualifier, according to the Scottish Daily Express.

The Light Blues will take on Union Saint-Gilloise who are in their first European campaign in decades having only recently returned to the top flight of Belgian football.

Souttar, who signed for the Bears on a pre-contract from Hearts this summer, will not travel however after he was in for criticism following the Gers’ 2-1 win away at Livingston on Saturday.

The Rangers new boy was bullied by Livi striker Joel Nouble for the opening goal of the 2022-23 SPFL season and he was bailed out by Scott Arfield and James Tavernier in the second half.

Winger Ryan Kent is also out of the first leg through injury but it isn’t thought to be a major concern for Giovanni van Bronckhorst ahead of the first few games of the campaign.

Spotlight

With Ranges being the first game of the new Premiership season, the spotlight was always going to be a little bit brighter on the Tony Macaroni Arena and especially the new recruits.

Tom Lawrence was perhaps the pick of the newbies with Antonio Colak struggling to get into the game for large portions but Souttar looked more than worried.

He was fine on the ball under little pressure from the defensive home side but on the one occasion he was properly challenged by Nouble, he did not stand up to the test.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst has been very smart to leave him at home for this game just to take some of the pressure off his shoulders while also seeing what his other new recruit Ben Davies has to offer.

There may be further debuts too with Ridvan Yilmaz on the plane to Belgium but the most important thing is that the Gers get through the game unscathed and with a healthy lead to hold onto at Ibrox.

In other Rangers news, the captain has reacted to his brother’s big Premier League move on Twitter.