It’s so good to see European football return as Rangers become the first British team to kick start their European campaign. With their European adventure starting four weeks before their domestic season, we may see some rustiness from Steven Gerrard’s men. Rangers however are no strangers to this, as they started their Europa League campaign from the same stage last season. Their campaign last season consisted of matches against Shkupi, Osijek, Maribor and Ufa, in which Steven Gerrard’s tenure began. His team really shined as they never really struggled to get past any opponents, obviously eclipsing the previous year’s performance when they were dumped out in the first round by Luxembourg minnows Progres Niederkorn.
It really would be a catastrophic start to the season if Gibraltar based St Joseph’s were to somehow knock out Rangers, but as I said just like in the 2017/18 season, these things can happen. Rangers will be looking to really stamp their authority on the match and hopefully put the tie out of sight in the first leg, meaning they don’t have any worries as they come back to Ibrox for the return leg.
However, Gibraltar hasn’t been the best stomping ground for Scottish clubs as Celtic found out in 2016 when they slipped to a 1-0 loss to the Lincoln Red Imps. Both the players and the coaching staff at Rangers won’t be taking this match lightly as so much rests on this in terms of a successful season. The perfect accompaniment to a domestic title chase could be a little run deep into a European competition and after lasts seasons. This all put together and after the heartbreak they faced last season at the hands of Rapid Vienna, Steven Gerrard won’t be holding back with his team selection.
Obviously with the size of the club, it was very difficult to find any team news on St Joseph’s, but you’d expect their formation to fairly defensive, either playing five at the back or four at the back with two defensive midfielders sitting in front.
However, when it comes to Rangers, the team news was fairly easier to get hold of. Steven Gerrard has already dipped into the transfer market and given debuts to all four summer signings (George Edmundson, Joe Aribo, Greg Stewart and Jake Hastie). All four of which could either start the match or make some form of appearance from the bench.
As I said earlier in the preview, Rangers won’t be taking this first leg lightly and I’m expecting their full array of talent to be on show in this first leg tie. Current ongoings at the club however, are putting Alfredo Morelos current situation in some jeopardy and I don’t expect him to travel. Thus paving the way for Jermain Defoe to start up front, I’m expecting him to play as a lone striker, with a midfield of Ryan Jack, Scott Arfield and Daniel Candeias providing support.
As I’ve said throughout this preview, Rangers won’t be taking their opposition lightly and I’m confident they will very much get the job done in Gibraltar. I’m expecting this match to be full of goals as Rangers look to kill the tie. You can get Over 3.5 Goals @ 1.57 or for a little bit more value on the goals front, Rangers Win & Over 4.5 is priced up @ 2.20.
Jermain Defoe looks likely to spearhead the attack and you can get him to score 2 or more @ 2.40, with most of the attacking going through him, you’d expect him to be well amongst the goals. If you’re looking for a bit of value in a simple anytime goalscorer, look no further than James Tavernier @ 2.10, the Rangers captain takes penalties and chips in with his fair share of goals.