The state of the Ibrox pitch is a cause for concern following another superb European triumph for Rangers on Thursday night.

The Gers came from behind twice to defeat Standard Liege 3-2 and secure progression to the Europa League Round of 32.

Rangers v Standard Liege - UEFA Europa League

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – DECEMBER 03: Rangers’ Scott Arfield makes it 3-2 during a UEFA Europa League match between Rangers and Standard Liege at Ibrox Stadium, on December 03, 2020, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Steven Gerrard’s side were far from their best for large periods of the game, but Scott Arfield’s 63rd-minute winner finished off a slick move and further improved the club’s excellent home form.

Remarkably, Rangers have now only lost one of their last 22 European matches at Ibrox, despite the likes of Porto, Feyenoord, Benfica and Galatasaray visiting over that period.

In normal times, plenty of credit for those results would be given to the supporters for the atmosphere they generate under the lights in Govan, but the side’s stunning form has continued in recent months even in their absence.

Rangers have been flawless at home in domestic competition so far this season too, winning all eight of their Premiership fixtures without conceding a goal.

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Rangers v Hamilton Academical - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard will want the Ibrox pitch to be in the best possible condition. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Maintaining a slick playing surface is key to their hopes of continuing that run, though, and while it played relatively well, the pitch looked far from pristine during Thursday’s win.

The Rangers groundstaff had serious problems with the surface last season, with a Premiership fixture against Livingston postponed in February following flooding, before it looked more like a beach during the thrilling 3-2 comeback win over Braga a few days later.

The footballing shutdown gave the club a chance to act and the surface was relaid. The new pitch was immaculate during the opening weeks of the season but it had a brownish colour and looked worn during the Standard clash.

 

Now that winter is here, the weather will test the pitch out consistently over the coming weeks and months, and it’s vital that there’s no repeat of last season’s problems.

The groundsmen will no doubt be relieved that Rangers are now set for a run of four consecutive away matches, with the next fixture at Ibrox against Motherwell on 19 December, so they have two weeks to intervene and work some magic before the situation gets out of hand.

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