Rangers begin their Champions League qualifying campaign with an away game against Malmo on Tuesday evening, and Steven Gerrard should hand a start Scott Wright.
The Gers travel to Sweden to take on Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side, with just two ties separating the Gers from the Champions League group stage.
It was confirmed earlier this week that the winner of this tie will take on either Ludogorets or Olympiacos in the play-off round, but Malmo will be far from easy for Gerrard’s side, with the Swedish side responsible for Rangers’ exit the last time they appeared in the Champions League qualifiers in 2011.
Therefore, Rangers will need to be at their best if they are to pick up a positive result at the Eleda Stadium on Tuesday night, and Wright deserves a start after his impressive performance against Livingston at the weekend.
The former Aberdeen man replaced the injury-stricken Ianis Hagi early on and later scored Rangers’ second goal with a superb volleyed finish inside the area. His performance earned him a 7.6 SofaScore rating, the joint-second highest of anyone who featured at Ibrox.
Following the game, Gerrard was full of praise for the 23-year-old’s display and his attitude in pre-season, saying: “Scott could have started today. His performances in pre-season have been outstanding. We’re working on him a lot.
“He’s quick and got his rewards from another strong performance. He’s really in my thinking for Tuesday night.”
The 41-year-old admitted that Hagi might not be fit to start against the Swedish champions, but even if the Romanian does return, Rangers might be best served by starting the Scottish winger on the right-hand side.
The 23-year-old offers the pace and direct running which Hagi doesn’t, and on a night where Rangers might find themselves on the back foot as the away team, speed on the counterattack could be key to Gerrard’s side bringing a positive result back to Ibrox for next week.
Although Malmo only scraped past HJK Helsinki and Riga to earn their place in this stage of the Champions League qualifiers, they have won their last three league games with a cumulative score of 11-0, so will be in a confident mood as they welcome Rangers. However, if Wright gets a start and produces a similar display to Saturday’s win at Ibrox, then he could prove to be Gerrard’s difference-maker in Sweden tonight.
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