Spartak Moscow manager Raul Riancho is coming into the Rangers match have never managed a game in his career.
Riancho was appointed as the manager for Thursday night as he starts his role as caretaker manager. This comes after news that Massimo Carrera was sacked as the Russian side’s manager yesterday.
It’s fair to say that Moscow are coming into the clash against Rangers in crisis. Spartak have won just two of their last nine matches and languishing in seventh in the Russian Premier League.
Yet, the move by the Moscow board to place Riancho in charge is a highly unusual one. The Spaniard only came on board as assistant manager this year. Added to that, despite being at six different clubs in his coaching career, he’s never managed one even as an interim.
Riancho’s most notable spell was a two-year stint as the Ukraine national side’s assistant manager. But, despite having some experience as an assistant, Riancho has spent his time at two of his previous clubs as a fitness coach.
Won’t have a better chance
It’s clear that Rangers, therefore, won’t have a better chance to beat Spartak. The group is starting to set up nicely for Rangers if they’re to progress to the last 32, with both Rapid and now Spartak having changed managers.
It appears, however, that Spartak are in a worse state than Rangers’ Austrian opponents. Just last month, players Denis Glushakov and Andrei Yeshchenko were sent to the reserves for liking abusive social media posts about Carrera.
The Italian had been in charge of the club for two-and-a-half years. Spartak, however, hadn’t been satisfied with his work over the last year in particular.
Steven Gerrard simply has to use this momentum shift to full effect on Thursday night. Rangers have played their best football at Ibrox this season, and are so far unbeaten under the new manager at home. It may be a different story away from home, but Rangers’ European results have been mightily impressive.
Spartak will likely arrive at Ibrox with some fear in their new system. For a new manager to have his first game as the away gaffer at a packed out Ibrox will be a scary thought for Riancho.
Rangers, therefore, have to take advantage and make sure they play at as high a tempo as possible. If they do, then it may be another glorious night for the Gers supporters.