By Joe Ellis

4th Nov, 2022 | 12:10pm

Rangers naivety laid bare as James Sands admits 'surprise' in Champions League

To say Rangers underperformed in the Champions League would be a master of understatement but they only have themselves to blame.

The Light Blues never really got close to picking up a point in the world’s premier club competition with only two goals to show for their efforts, none of which came away from home.

American defender James Sands spoke after the final defeat to Ajax and his words just epitomised what went wrong in Europe this season.

“I think it is a big step up from the Europa League,” he said, as quoted by The Scotsman. “We did well in that competition last year but it seems we have missed a step and gone straight in with the very best teams in the Champions League.

“It has been an experience for all of us and we have to learn from it. I think it has been a bit of a surprise for everyone. I believe we have three of the best teams in Europe in our group so it was extremely tough.

“We were a little surprised by the quality, but we got better as the group went on which is a positive. It is a learning experience for all of us and hopefully, we can use it to help us in the league. We still have a chance to win some trophies this season.”

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It shows complete naivety to be surprised at the teams in the Champions League because they should already be fully aware that these sides are among the very best in Europe and therefore the world.

Obviously, Sands isn’t at fault for this but the coaching staff, along with Giovanni van Bronckhorst, should have prepared them much better for the carnage that was about to ensue.

It won’t be a mistake they make again when they next reach the Champions League group stages with every team in the competition a genuine threat on any day.

In other Rangers news, the club have received a very handy payout from UEFA for their participation in the competition but Celtic got more cash.