Charlie Nicholas: Rangers stare Champions League embarrassment in the face
Charlie Nicholas believes Rangers are facing the embarrassment of failing to collect a single point in their Champions League group.
The Gers have started their first group stage campaign in twelve years with two successive defeats to Ajax and Napoli.
Despite a more positive week domestically, Nicholas still feels that Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side could have to avoid a “nightmare scenario” in their final group stage match.
Writing in his Scottish Daily Express column [19 September], Nicholas said: “I still feel that Rangers face the embarrassment of not collecting any points in their first season back in the Champions League – because that’s the stark reality of this competition.
“I honestly can’t see Rangers taking anything from Liverpool over the two games next month. Then Rangers have to go it Italy to take on Napoli and I think it really depends on what the state of the group is at that point. The Serie A side might have to win that game to qualify or keep their hopes alive.
“I can see Rangers taking something from Ajax in their final game – purely to escape the nightmare scenario of a big zero.”
Rangers showed in their defeat to in-form Napoli that they have more than enough to match Europe’s best sides at Ibrox on their day. Before the red card, the Gers were stifling the Serie A leaders.
Qualification does look like a bit of a long shot at the moment, but there’s no reason why the Gers can’t compete with Liverpool and Ajax when they do make the trip to Glasgow.
Jurgen Klopp’s side haven’t been in the best of form in the early part of the season and a trip to a hostile Ibrox as massive favourites is probably not the fixture that they want.
If Rangers can pick up a point against the Merseyside club over the two matches and then beat Ajax in their final fixture, then they will stand a good chance of securing third spot and Europa League football.
Nicholas is perhaps being a little bit harsh on the Gers and their chances of snatching anything from this group. After all, facing Ajax in Amsterdam and Italy’s most potent side is not the ideal start to life back in Europe’s top competition.
In other Rangers news, Barry Ferguson is raging at this “spectacular failure” at Ibrox.