Rangers have given themselves a Europa League platform from which to build after they twice came from behind to draw with Villarreal 2-2 in Spain a fortnight ago.
Steven Gerrard’s side have defied expectations by reaching the Europa League group stage and now they are seeking to make their most of their time back in the relative big time.
On Thursday, they face a Rapid Vienna side in something of a state of crisis, having changed their coach following a stunning 2-0 loss at home to St Polten on Saturday that has left them in the bottom half of the Austrian Bundesliga.
The Gers have everything to play for.
||Rangers vs Rapid Vienna
||Thursday, October 4
||2:00pm BST / 15:00pm EST
|Stream (US only)
||fubo TV (7-day free trial)
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial).
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
|US TV channel
||fubo TV (7-day free trial)
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on BT Sport 2 and streamed on BT Sport Live.
|UK TV channel
|BT Sport 2
||BT Sport Live
Squads & Team News
||McGregor, Foderingham, Alnwick
||Tavernier, Goldson, Hodson, Flanagan, Ross McCrorie, Katic, Bradley, Wallace
||Dorrans, Jack, Ejaria, Halliday, Coulibaly, Kent, Arfield, Kelly, Rossiter
||Grezda, Murphy, Sadiq, Morelos, Candeias, Rudden, Middleton, Lafferty
Manager Gerrard will once again have to do without long-term injury victims Lee Wallace and Jamie Murphy because of injury problems, though otherwise he boasts a full-strength squad.
Nikola Katic and Ryan Kent may return to the fold after missing out on a starting place in Livingston at the weekend.
Alfredo Morelos was banned for the match against Villarreal and will return to lead the line.
Possible Starting XI: McGregor; Tavernier, Katic, Goldson, Barisic; Arfield, Ejaria, Coulibaly; Candeias, Morelos, Kent
||Rapid Vienna squad
||Strebinger, Knoflach, Haas, Gartler
||Muldur, Barac, Bolingoli, Sonnleitner, Dibon, Potzmann, Hofmann, Thurnwald, Auer
||Schobesberger, Schwabm Berisha, Murg, Martic, Malicsek, Szanto, Knasmullner, Arase, Ljubicic
||Pavlovic, Kostic, Alar, Guillemenot, Ivan
New Rapid Vienna boss Didi Kuhbauer comes into a club missing several potential starters because of injury issues.
Defenders Manuel Turnwalf and Maximilian Hofmann are both on the sidelines, while from the midfield Tamas Szanto, Philipp Schobesberger and Ivan Mocinic are missing.
Possible Starting XI: Strebinger; Muldur, Sonnleitner, Barac, Potzmann; Ljubicic, Schwab; Murg, Knasmullner, Ivan; Alar
Betting & Match Odds
Salzburg are priced at 21/20 to win, according to bet 365, while a draw is available at 13/5. A win for Napoli is priced at 14/5.
Click here to see all of bet 365’s offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more.
Rangers’ 2-2 draw against Villarreal has heightened hopes at Ibrox that they can be a force in Europa League Group G. On paper, that was the toughest of their matches, and while they did come under significant pressure, they did not steal a point from the Spaniards.
But while Gerrard has rightly receivec plaudits for what he has achieved in Europe, his start in management has been far from flawless, as a 1-0 loss at Livingston last weekend showed. The Gers are only sixth in the Scottish Premiership, having won only three of their first seven matches of the season.
Nevertheless, he will adopt an attacking approach for this match.
“I’m not going to accept my team sitting back and waiting for a moment to join in the game,” he said.
“We have to be on it from the first whistle to the last. We’re at our best when we’re positive and when we believe in ourselves.
“The challenge for us was: ‘Can we get out of the group?’ For us, at home, it’s vital that we try to win this game.
“It’s an evenly matched group. There’s no standout team who are big favourites, but you’d maybe say Villarreal because they’re probably playing in the strongest league.
“The league’s always been the priority, but we’re Rangers and we want to win every game we play in. We’ve put an awful lot of effort and hard work in to getting to this stage.”
Meanwhile, the Gers’ opponents find themselves in a state of flux, having endured a wretched start to their own domestic season that has left them closer to the bottom of the table than the top.
A reaction to the 2-0 loss to St Polten was to replace manager Goran Djuricin with Dietmar Kuhbaur, with Gerrard saying: “The challenge has changed overnight.”
It is now the responsibility of his Rangers side to prove they are up to it
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