It’s been almost eight long years since Rangers fans last enjoyed an Ibrox European night in a competition proper.
And if the huge nights in the qualification run are anything to go by, it’s set to be an iconic one. Rangers have hosted Shkupi, Osijek, Maribor and FC Ufa this season as they made the group stages. Last season we tumbled out to lowly Progres.
All of these huge matches at Ibrox were leading up to this.
And there’s going to be a full, raucous house in Govan tonight as Rangers play host to Austrian outfit Rapid Vienna.
A big moment in Ibrox history
Seven years ago, this moment could never have looked so far away. Rangers were toiling, the club was on its knees and supporters were stunned. The survival of the club and focusing on domestic football were the pressing concerns.
Europe was an afterthought.
Now, tonight’s Europa League match is a sign of just how far the club has come. It’s the first home game in a European Competition proper since March 2011, it’s massive.
Rangers fans have been hungry for the chance to showcase the club on the continental stage. Steven Gerrard has delivered this chance earlier than we probably imagined. Europe is where Rangers belong and fans are quite right to enjoy this.
The 2-2 draw in Villarreal was a massive result, a win tonight would give us a great chance in the group.
When was the last match?
Ibrox last hosted a European match proper on the 17th of March 2011. Rangers faced Dutch side PSV Eindhoven in the same competition they play in tonight, the Europa League.
Rangers were dumped out of the last 16 that night as a first half Jeremain Lens goal was enough to give PSV a 1-0 win. The Gers had a Mo Edu effort controversially cleared off the line with a handball, and Steven Naismith hit the bar as Rangers crashed out in the last Ibrox European night before we went down.
That season Rangers also hosted Manchester United, Bursapor, Valencia and Sporting Lisbon. It’s been a while since we’ve entertained such names at Ibrox.
Tonight, Rangers will certainly be looking to go for the win against Rapid Vienna. Is this the team to help them do it?
It’s been seven years and nearly seven months since Ibrox last hosted a match in Europe proper.
Let’s make this a historic Ibrox European night to remember.