Rangers secure £4m cash boost after USG Champions League turnaround

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Rangers secure £4m cash boost after USG Champions League turnaround

Rangers had it all to do heading into the second leg of their Champions League clash with Union Saint Gilloise but dug deep to turn it around on another electric night at Ibrox.

The players, management and club had called on the fans to bring the noise and help inspire a famous victory with Rangers needing to make history having lost the first leg 2-0.

Heading into the match, Rangers had never overturned such a deficit in a European tie but fans can rest easy having booked a place in the Europa League Playoffs courtesy of a 3-0 Ibrox victory.

The result also has its own financial benefits too, with every participant in the Playoff round of Champions League qualification now guaranteed a €5m (£4m) parachute payment irregardless of the result.

Heading into the final few weeks of the transfer window this will be a welcome cash boost as the club vie for a first Champions League group stage place since 2009.

Rangers know that they will face Dutch outfit PSV in the Playoff after they overcame Ligue 1 Monaco in a pulsating game in Eindhoven, Ruud van Nistelrooy’s team beating their French counterparts 3-2 on the night AET and 4-3 on aggregate.

The first leg will take place at Ibrox next week (17th August) with the return in the Netherlands a week later (24th).

Rangers book Champions League Playoff place with USG victory

Rangers started brightly against Union Saint Gilloise at Ibrox and had heaped pressure on the Belgians who’d set their stall out to defend deep and spring on the counter.

Antonio Colak had come closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half, the big Croatian twice connecting with a strong header from a cross but first flashing the ball over the bar before forcing a strong save from USG keeper Anthony Morís.

But as things started to get sloppy at Ibrox, both teams contributing to a frenetic affair with loose passes aplenty and nerves jangling, Rangers were given a gift by the Belgians ahead of half-time.

As a cross came into the USG box, one of the Belgian side’s defenders moved to head the ball but got it all wrong and gifted Rangers a penalty by handling it.

Up stepped James Tavernier – usually monumental on these nights – to stroke the ball home.

As the second half kicked off there was a feeling that USG would have to cope with a Rangers onslaught but as in the first half, the Ibrox side continued to be sloppy in possession at times.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Too many wayward passes, too many cross field balls being intercepted and a lack of incision was evident at times and if Rangers are to progress to the group stages the players must improve in this regard.

Antonio Colak – writing his own redemption story of sorts after knocking the club out of the Champions League with Malmo at this stage last season – levelled proceedings just before the hour mark.

The big striker was there in the six yard box to nod it home from only a few yards out and it’s a goal that set Rangers in good stead heading into the final 30 minutes of the game.

John Lundstram even forced a good save as the momentum swung towards Ibrox.

The Ibrox side did experience a scare before eventually scoring the decisive third goal, James Sands having a second yellow overturned after the referee had initially sent him off for a strong challenge.

As Rangers continued to push for a winner, and the game got more and more frenzied with tackles flying in and passes going astray, it was Bayern Munich loanee Malik Tillman who’d steal the day.

The German born USA international snuck in in front of USG keeper Morris from a looping Borna Barisic cross and scored what would prove the eventual winner.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Rangers could’ve been out of sight too come the final whistle; Ryan Kent had a decent effort saved whilst Alfredo Morelos couldn’t reach one of the winger’s flashed crosses and also took a poor touch amid an opportunity to round the keeper.

The result is a monumental one for Rangers and lifts the Ibrox mood with attention now turning to the Champions League Playoff.

PSV Eindhoven represent a stiff test and Rangers will need to sharpen up their play to show their Champions League credentials heading into the match but for now the team deserve huge credit for turning this game around.

Especially since, as one player pointed out, this Belgian mob were quite cocky heading into the Ibrox clash.