By Daniel Lewis

20th Sep, 2023 | 10:10pm

Rabbi Matondo makes '100%' Rangers vow ahead of Europa League campaign

Rabbi Matondo has vowed to give “100%” to ensure Rangers enjoy another deep run in the Europa League, starting with victory over Real Betis.

The Gers were beaten on penalties in the final by Eintracht Frankfurt the last time they competed in the competition in 2021-22.

That predated Matondo’s arrival at the club by two months, but the Wales international is hoping to make European memories of his own.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of facing Betis on Thursday [21 September], Matondo said he is “100%” dreaming of lifting the trophy.

“Watching from the outside, I was even getting goosebumps for the lads,” he said, as per The Scotsman [20 September].

“I didn’t even know half of them at that time, so you can only imagine being involved in it yourself. I don’t know how I’d feel.

“We have to look at the game in front of us, which is Betis tomorrow. We know they are a good side so we have to try and beat them first.

“Ultimately, we are always going to play every game to win, so we will just see where we can go from there.”

Contrasting emotions

Rangers would have preferred to be playing in the Champions League, but defeat to PSV in the qualifying play-off round put paid to those hopes.

However, as the past two European seasons have gone to show, playing in UEFA’s secondary competition can be a lot more fun.

After losing all six group games in the Champions League last season, the Gers have a realistic shot of advancing to the knockouts of the Europa this time around.

Real Betis are strong opening opponents but, as Matondo said, Rangers will be targeting a victory in front of a passionate Ibrox crowd.

Aris Limassol and Sparta Prague are the other two sides in the group, both of whom Rangers will fancy their chances of finishing above.

If they make it to the next stage, then supporters can quietly begin to dream about what is ahead.

On the basis of a disappointing start to the campaign on a whole, though, let’s just focus on finishing in the top two of the group.

In other Rangers news, Giovanni van Bronckhorst – the man who guided the Gers to the final last year – was in attendance at a Celtic game in midweek.