This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Rangers legend Derek Johnstone has called on Rangers to make European football an important part of their upcoming season, as reported by The Evening Times.
Rangers’ 2019/20 campaign kicks off in just a few days time, with the club set to face St Joseph’s of Gibraltar next Tuesday away from home.
With Celtic gunning for a record-equalling ninth title in a row, there’s an argument to say that the Gers must put all their eggs in the league basket next term, rather than be distracted by cup competitions or Europe.
Johnstone though, feels that is not in keeping with the tradition of the club.
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As quoted by The Evening Times, the Ibrox legend said:
“I know there is a bit of debate amongst the supporters about how important the Europa League is for Rangers this season and how much emphasis Steven Gerrard should put on it.
“As the manager said last week, he won’t overlook the Europa League and he certainly won’t treat any competition that Rangers enter lightly. You just can’t do that.
“This is a club that has to win things and every tournament that we are in, we have to go out to win it and bring the silverware to Ibrox.
“You can’t sacrifice the Europa League to give you a better chance in the Premiership and you can’t downplay either of the domestic cups to try and win the league. That is not the attitude at Rangers.
“It was great to have European football back at Ibrox last season and the manager and the players will be just as determined to reach the group stages as they were last term.”
The obvious argument here being missed is that if Rangers are good enough to qualify and compete in the UEFA Europa League stages and beyond, then they’ll likely be good enough to win most of their games in domestic action.
Testing themselves against European opponents is a great way for the Gers’ emerging talent to develop, become more experienced and more reliable talents.
Rangers must benchmark themselves against the highest competition available to them and that will likely be their European opponents this season, outside of rivals Celtic.
Johnstone is right to assert that a winning mentality must be forged across any and all competitions if Steven Gerrard’s team are to truly compete next term.