It’s advantage Rangers in the Europa League as the Ibrox side earned a spirited 1-1 draw with Czech outfit Slavia Prague despite a rocky start in eastern Europe.

The Gers were rocked by an earlier Nicolae Stanciu screamer which curled over the top of an admittedly stranded and perhaps out of position Allan McGregor.


Romanian midfielder Nicolae Stanciu had Slavia Prague 1-0 in the opening stages. (Photo by MILAN KAMMERMAYER/AFP via Getty Images)

It topped off what was a rocky start for Rangers, Slavia’s pressing and aggressive game catching Steven Gerrard’s side off guard with slack passing and hurried touches a feature of our early play.

But despite Slavia’s dominance, there was one man on the field assuming an unfamiliar leadership role and he won challenge and duel after challenge and due with the Gers under pressure.

Filip Helander – a man who coinicidentally is yet to be beaten in the Scottish Premiership – stood up and was counted with Rangers under the cosh and helped hold the line as he and his teammates fought for their way back into the match.

And poignantly, it would be the big Swede who’d pop up with the equaliser and away goal for Rangers as he pounced on an impressive Ianis Hagi pass into the six-yard box in the second phase of a free-kick.

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This match changed the tone of the contest for Rangers who had the better of the contest in the second half and impressed with their self-belief at this stage of European competition.


Rangers’ star Filip Helander has the Gers level against Slavia. (Photo by MILAN KAMMERMAYER/AFP via Getty Images)

Helander would then return to his unassuming role in the team, his defensive intuitiveness a real asset at this level whilst the team plays in front of him, largely through defensive partner Connor Goldson.

Helander would also make one last telling contribution as he unorthodoxly won the ball during a late Slavia attack with the Czech side demanding a penalty in vain.

The big defender’s goal has Rangers in a fine position ahead of next week’s return with the Gers having a week to prepare for the match.

The ex-Bologna man earned the acclaim of supporters for both the goal and his performance in the aftermath of the match at the Sinobo Stadium in Prague:


Rangers fans had plenty to cheer in Prague and Helander’s performance and goal weren’t the only things grabbing the headlines.

Fans lost it as legendary Ibrox keeper Allan McGregor pulled off one of the greatest saves of his career at the death to keep the Gers’ noses in front in the tie.

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