St Joseph's pitch could spell bad news for Rangers stars
Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

St Joseph's pitch could spell bad news for Rangers stars

Rangers will face St Joseph’s FC in Europa League qualifying round one next week.
That’s after the Gibraltan side sealed a shock 3-1 aggregate victory over FC Prishtina last night. With 0.800, they have the second lowest coefficient ranking of any side in the competition [Kassiesa]

There remain some question marks over when the first leg of the tie will take place. It will either be on Tuesday 9th or Thursday 11th July, depending on whether or not another side from Gibraltar, Europa, also progress to QR1.
That’s because the only venue on the rock that’s fit for hosting UEFA competition is the Victoria Stadium.

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Yet, two Rangers stars – Jamie Murphy and Borna Barisic – may be more concerned about the surface than the scheduling. The pitch at St Joseph’s ground is artificial.

Murphy spent much of last season in the treatment room. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Murphy sustained serious knee ligament damage on the plastic pitch at Kilmarnock last August. He missed the remainder of the season and while now fit again, is yet to return to competitive action.
He was held back from featuring at Rugby Park in the final league game of 2018/19 and admitted earlier this week that the medical team will decide whether or not he can play on artificial surfaces going forward [
Daily Record].
Meanwhile, Borna Barisic has his own troubled past on these types of surfaces. During an injury-hit first season at Ibrox, he claimed he’d been advised by the medical team to miss all matches on artificial [Daily Record].

Barisic picked up a variety of muscle injuries during his maiden campaign as a Ger. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

He did return to play 90 minutes at Killie on the final day of last season. Having said that, he was at fault for both of the home side’s goals.