Rangers have found out the teams they could face in Champions League qualification round three after the competition drew its first two rounds.
Rangers will need to wait until mid-July to find out who they’ll face in the penultimate qualifier, with a Playoff round to come if Rangers can navigate it.
But after the QR2 draw Rangers will face Midtjylland/AEK Larnaca, Monaco, Sturm Graz or Belgian outfit Union Saint-Gilloise in QR3, with Ligue 1 outfit Monaco the clear name fans will want to avoid.
Rangers are seeded for the draw and as a result will not face off against Benfica or PSV Eindhoven, with the club also avoiding Fenerbahce after they drew Dynamo Kiev.
Rangers were always going to avoid the winner of Kiev’s tie as the Ukrainians are seeded.
Rangers must step up in Champions League qualification
The clashes are all winnable but it shows the scale of the challenge Rangers face to reach the Champions League land of milk and honey.
The Gers missed out on automatic qualification for the main tournament despite all their hard work in European competition by meekly surrendering the league to Celtic.
A lack of focus, concentration and commitment cost the club dearly as they squandered points against utter dross and allowed Celtic to stay within touching distance and gain some composure in the second half of the season.
Whilst the club managed to reach the Europa League Final, an extraordinary feat in its own right, the pressure is on the players and board to deliver Champions League football.
Not only was the league campaign underwhelming, but so was last season’s Champions League qualification effort.
The Rangers players badly let the club down in the Ibrox defeat to 10-man Malmo and it’s on them to show up fully focused and ready to compete.
But there is also mega scrutiny on the Rangers board to deliver the quality signings that Steven Gerrard believed the club lacked to take that next step last season.
There is pressure mounting behind this and Rangers need to take the challenge much more seriously than they appeared to last season and deliver the riches and prestige of Champions League qualification.
Meanwhile, one leading Rangers star has dropped a major hint regarding his plans for the future amid serious links elsewhere.