Rangers fans will be desperate for new boss Steven Gerrard to turn around their club’s fortunes following a tumultuous few seasons and he gets things underway on Thursday evening when the Light Blues face FK Shkupi in the Europa League. The former England captain has yet to prove himself as manager of a senior side although he has experience at U18 level with Liverpool and he will be pitting his wits against former Reds boss Brendan Rodgers as Rangers look to end the dominance of arch-rivals Celtic this season.
The domestic league campaign is still some time away and Gerrard must first turn his attention to European matters and restoring his side’s reputation on the continent. Following a six-year absence from European competition, Rangers beat Progres Niederkorn 1-0 at home before exiting last season’s Europa League thanks to a humiliating 2-0 defeat in the return leg away from Ibrox. This was the beginning of the end for Caixinha and the Rangers faithful will be hopeful that Gerrard can restore some pride to the side and usher in a bright new era for the club.
Confidence will have doubtless been boosted by the 6-0 hammering of Bury in a friendly on Friday evening and this gave Gerrard a chance to see his new signings in action, these including the likes of Jon Flanagan, Scott Arfield, Conor Goldson and Allan McGregor.
Shkupi are a youngster on the scene having been formed in 2012 and they scraped into this season’s Europa League having finished fourth in the Macedonian top-flight, their highest ever position in their short history. They have a couple of useful players in their ranks, however we feel that they will be very much out of their depth at Ibrox this week and Gerrard should at least enjoy a convincing winning start to his first full season in charge, Betway Bookies going 11/8 on Rangers to win by 4 goals or more.