Steven Gerrard’s records at Rangers have been impressive so far, but he’s set to equal another on Thursday night.
Rangers of course smashed the club record of 10 European games without defeat last time out. The 0-0 draw at home to Spartak made it 11 straight matches without a loss. It was an incredible achievement for the new manager, who continues to impress.
This Thursday, however, he has yet another one on his agenda.
Rangers travel to Russia for the return match against Spartak Moscow. It’s set to be another tough encounter for the Gers, but avoiding defeat would make it six consecutive away matches without defeat in European football.
As it stands, Rangers’ record for unbeaten away matches in Europe stands at six matches. That was last achieved back in 2006/07 in the UEFA Cup under Paul Le Guen. He was, however, only in charge for three of them. The run also started under previous manager Alex McLeish the season beforehand.
During the famous Walter Smith run of unbeaten matches in Europe, Rangers only managed five away from home. Smith’s run ended in the next European match against Levski Sofia in the first qualifier of the 1993-94 season.
Six in one has never been done
No Rangers manager has ever gone six matches in Europe without defeat in one season. It’s yet another huge stepping stone that Gerrard could very well reach.
Nobody needs reminding of the competition. Everybody knows it’s not the best teams Europe has to offer, but Rangers have been in European exile for seven years now. To make that kind of an impact so quickly against any European opposition is hugely impressive.
So far, Gerrard has survived trips to Shkupi, Osijek, Maribor, Ufa, and Villarreal. The challenges within that run have been huge.
Against Shkupi, Allan McGregor had to make a ton of stunning saves. The goalkeeper also had to stop a penalty against Maribor, whilst Osijek piled on the pressure.
Rangers had to compete against Ufa for nine men for much of the second half, whilst they showed amazing character to come back on two occasions in Villarreal.
If Gerrard reaches six games unbeaten away in Europe on Thursday, it’ll be a marvelous achievement. Moscow, however, will be an extremely tough task.