Rangers are capturing the attention of football fans across Europe with their Europa League run but there’s one ex-Ibrox player who won’t be cheering for them against Slavia Prague.
Former Czech international and Ibrox winger Libor Sionko had a troublesome spell at Ibrox after being signed by Paul le Guen and lasted only a year in Glasgow before moving to Copenhagen in 2007.
But whilst the ex-Sparta Prague player, 44, would normally be cheering against his rivals on home soil, in his role at the Czech FA the former right-winger is team Slavia for the tie.
The winger also claims that he “won’t be helping” Steven Gerrard’s side ahead of the clash.
“I’m a fan of Czech football. It’s not like if you’re Rangers you hate Celtic, so I hope Slavia win,” said the national association’s director of football [Scottish Sun].
“So while, with the biggest respect, I won’t be helping Steven Gerrard, it’s not hard to find out about Slavia’s players — there’s Sima, Provod, the goalkeeper Kolarř is very good with the ball on the ground.
“He’s like an 11th outfield player, he’s not just a goalkeeper.
“As I’m director of the national team I’m in charge of the players and everything to do with that side.
“It’s my work to watch the game because we have many players at Slavia. They have many good players so they can surprise for sure.”
Sionko – who was capped 41 times by his country – is clearly putting Czechia before club loyalties but that doesn’t mean he’s not happy for Rangers this season.
The ex-Austria Wien star expressed his happiness at the club’s league form but warned the Gers not to underestimate Slavia.
“Of course there were stronger teams and bigger names in the draw than Slavia,” said Sionko.
“In the eyes of the Rangers players there will be tougher games, but I think they should know not to underestimate this team because Slavia are strong.
“Of course it’s the Czech league and we have two, three, sometimes four teams that are very strong but the rest of the league is average.
“It’s the same in Scotland though, to be honest. You have Celtic, Rangers, sometimes Hibs or Aberdeen are there.
“In my time as a player at Sparta we almost always beat Slavia. Not always but I was more successful than not against them. Now Slavia is a bit ahead.
“Rangers are doing well this season so I’m curious and looking forward to the game.
“I know their results and that they will win the title.
“I’m very pleased to see Rangers doing so well, but make no mistake these games will be tough for them.”
Rangers fans are buzzing as the club reaches the last 16 of the Europa League for the second season in a row and will now look forward to a tough test against Slavia Prague.
If the club is to do it, then they’ll need to keep quiet a £45m-rated wonderkid striker reportedly attracting interest from across the Premier League.