The home leg of Rangers’ upcoming Champions League qualifier is set to take place the day after coronavirus restrictions are scheduled to be lifted in Scotland.
The Gers found out yesterday that they’d be facing either HJK Helsinki of Finland or Malmö FF of Sweden in the 3rd round of Champions League qualifying next month.
Rangers are seeded for the draw, which will see the club travel to Scandinavia on the 3rd or 4th of August, before hosting a return leg on the 10th of August.
As things stand, Scotland could be welcoming back full stadiums only a day earlier when existing coronavirus regulations – including those regarding physical distancing – are scheduled to be relaxed.
At this point, the limit on the size of events would also be scrapped.
At present, the entirety of Scotland is in so-called level 0 as of July 19th with fans being welcomed back into grounds in dribs and drabs.
However, national clinical director Jason Leitch has previously suggested full capacity stadiums when regulations have been relaxed from the date Rangers are set to play in the Champions League.
“They can on August 10th, but we’ve had to learn that new word remember, that ‘indicative’ word,” said Jason Leitch [Daily Record]
“So we have given advice that says ‘with a fair wind, the trajectory we are presently on, with vaccinations’, this six weeks buys us quite a lot of vaccine time.
“So if we can get that in, and people come, that’s the important thing that people can do, then yes we hope that August 9th/10th can happen.”
Rangers have also just announced that plans to let increased supporter numbers into upcoming friendlies with Brighton (8500) and Real Madrid (12750) as well as the Scottish Premiership opener with Livingston (17000) [Rangers].
As part of that statement, the club also claimed that they “expect” a full house for the qualifier.
This will be music to the ears of Gers fans who’ve been desperate to get into Ibrox ever since the shut-out was enforced from March 2020.
A total of 2000 fans returned to the 50k seater stadium for the first time in 16 months this weekend as the Gers drew 2-2 with Premier League Arsenal.
But just imagine the first time a full house is back in the ground that Champions League music is belting around the stadium with fans saluting their heroes with 50k strong for the first time since securing 55.
If you’re a Helsinki or Malmö fan, or player, that’s something which probably doesn’t bear thinking about.
Meanwhile, one player Rangers reportedly hope to strengthen their side with ahead of the Champions League charge has been included in his current club’s training camp.