Rangers were able to secure their spot in the Europa League group stages on Thursday afternoon as they drew 0-0 with Armenian side Alashkert in Yerevan, one week after Steven Gerrard’s team triumphed 1-0 at Ibrox in the first leg.
The Gers were able to hold on to but not build on their slender lead in Armenia, despite the hosts going down to ten men in the first half.
Rangers were without their manager and a number of first-team players after a Covid outbreak at the club earlier this week but Gary McAllister was able to steer a much-changed squad through to the group stages, with the draw set to take place on Friday afternoon.
Although Rangers fans will be relieved that they were able to scrape through the qualifying game, they should be disappointed that they failed to score against Alashkert in the 90 minutes, particularly once they went down to 10 men.
One man who disappointed in the draw was left-back Borna Barisic, who has endured a poor start to the new season despite being one of the most consistent performers in Gerrard’s side last season, scoring five times and registering 14 assists.
The Croatian, who wasn’t utilised by his country at the European Championships this summer due to injury, has returned to Ibrox looking like a shadow of his former self.
Barisic disappointed in previous defeats against Dundee United and Malmo, subsequently losing his starting spot to Calvin Bassey after the youngster’s impressive displays.
However, with the former Leicester City man left at home after testing positive, Rangers were forced to select Barisic from the start in Yerevan and he once again emphasised his lack of match fitness and quality.
Following the game, the Glasgow Times were critical of Barisic’s performance, writing:
“Still doesn’t look up to speed and didn’t have his best night.”
Therefore, Gerrard will no doubt be fuming with the way the £5.4m-rated defender has started the season and may be concerned that he could struggle again this weekend as the Gers prepare for the Old Firm derby at Ibrox.
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