Rangers have been given a significant Europa League boost after the disappointment of losing out to PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League.
Michael Beale will avoid the likes of Liverpool, Roma, Bayer Leverkusen and Ajax after Sparta Prague did us a favour by beating Dinamo Zagreb, the Croatians would have pipped us to pot one had they won.
A top two finish in the group stages is now considerably easier with several Champions League regulars being avoided in the draw and Rangers should be looking for Europa League football after Christmas once again.
Rangers must set Europa League sights high
Outside of the top seeds, pot two has a couple of heavy hitters in Sporting Lisbon and Marseille, Slavia Prague and Real Betis would also offer tough opposition.
Qarabag FC of Azerbaijan are the weakest on paper, but it’s not exactly the sort of away trip you would want heading into a league game.
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The team to avoid in pot three when the draw is made this lunchtime is Brighton, a side that could well be dark horses for the whole tournament given their style of play and current form.
Recent opponents Sparta Prague and Royale Union Saint-Gilloise are also in pot two with Sturm Graz, probably, the best option to get in terms of coefficient ranking.
In pot four AEK Athens, Panathanikos and Toulouse provide the stiffest tests and Rangers will be hoping that the luck of being seeded in Europa League pot one continues into the draw.
In terms of finances, to roughly match last season’s Champions League revenue, Rangers will have to advance to, at least the last 16.
A favourable draw would be a good start and a top two finish, but, more importantly, Michael Beale needs to get his tactics right.
He has a squad capable of going deep with Rangers into the Europa League, but his role is just as important as the players turning up and playing to the best of their ability.