The Gers make their return to European football’s elite competition as an injury-ravaged squad make the trip to the Netherlands for the second time this season.
High-flying Ajax are coming into this clash off the back of a 4-0 Cambuur battering whilst Rangers look meek and timid on domestic duties following a humbling at the hands of their eternal rivals.
A trip to the John Cruyff Arena wouldn’t exactly be first pick for a team short of confidence to find their feet and fan grumbles over a lack of investment and freshness in the squad will get louder if Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side fail to give a decent account of themselves.
Rangers have shown themselves to be wily operators on the European stage however and after dumping PSV Eindhoven in their own back yard there are faint hopes the feat can be repeated against Ruud van Nistelrooy’s title rivals.
Rangers assistant Dave Vos has Ajax inside track
Rangers also have someone in Dave Vos who – having spent the majority of his career in the Ajax youth department – can prove an inside man and secret weapon in this clash.
Vos was the Ajax U18s manager when he was poached by Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s having worked with the Amsterdam club since 2009 and having previously worked alongside Louis van Gaal at AZ Alkmaar. Read more HERE.
Given Ajax’s focus on youth there will be several players in the Dutch club’s team who Dave Vos knows personally and who he has coached and this could be a welcome advantage for a notoriously pragmatic coaching team.
The Rangers team relish playing on the European stage for whatever reason – be it that other sides are watching or that the pressure of Scottish football is off – and with the right application and work-rate anything really is possible.
But if Dave Vos can arm the Rangers team with insider knowledge against the now Alfred Schreuder led Ajax then it can prove a pivotal advantage in what promises to be a challenging tie.
Meanwhile, Rangers have been placed on a special UEFA watchlist alongside the likes of Chelsea and Barcelona.