Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst has not given up hope of European football after Christmas as the Ibrox gaffer targets a date with destiny against Ajax at Ibrox.

The Gers are finding the step up to the Champions League stage very difficult and despite being beaten Europa League finalists last season have toiled on the big stage this campaign.

Van Bronckhorst’s side were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool in the latest round of fixtures meaning the club have yet to register a goal let alone a point in this season’s competition.

This follows on from the 4-0 defeat away to Ajax and the 0-3 home loss to group leaders Napoli, who thrashed the Dutch champions 1-6 in their own back yard this week.

The results mean Rangers’ European status is hanging by a thread with the club realistically needing to get at least a point from the six on offer from Liverpool (H) and Napoli (A) in matchdays four and five.

At the same time they’d need to hope that Ajax fail to pick up any against the same opposition before they travel to Ibrox on matchday six.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst targets Ajax Europa League battle

If these scenarios happen then Rangers would be able to qualify for the Europa League by beating Ajax at their own ground; no mean feat but certainly not impossible.

It’s a scenario that is being eyed by van Bronckhorst in the coming weeks as he once again spoke about the step up in level on Champions League duty.

“It’s a very, very difficult group with teams from a high level,” said van Bronckhorst [Rangers].

“You see big defeats in this group stage and that means results have to come our way in the next two games.

“That’s the only thing we can have still. The chance to play Ajax in the last game with a chance to qualify for Europe after the break.”

Attention now turns to Rangers’ weekend visit of St Mirren before the Ibrox club face Liverpool at Ibrox where the Gers support will be preparing quite the atmosphere for their outspoken Premier League rivals.

Meanwhile, Rangers murmurs around a Premiership rival are surely a wind-up given the bad blood between all parties involved.

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