Rangers’ stats behind their clash against Spartak Moscow make for fairly optimistic reading for supporters.
It’s not rare that Rangers fans are used to reading positive numbers ahead of Premiership clashes. But, a trip to Moscow to face Russian giants Spartak you would expect would make for more grim reading.
First off, Steven Gerrard will be going into the contest looking to be the first Rangers manager to achieve another feat. No Gers manager has ever gone six consecutive away games in Europe without defeat.
The club have done it in the past, but this was split between two managers and over the course of two seasons. Alex McLeish and Paul Le Guen shared a six-game unbeaten run between 2006 and 2007 away from home in Europe.
No manager, however, has managed to do it in the one season. Gerrard is closing in on doing just that.
The away form
His Rangers side have kept clean sheets in three of their five away matches on the continent. They only shipped three goals in the other two against Villarreal and Ufa respectively.
Of course, Gerrard has already set one record this season. He surpassed Walter Smith’s 1992/93 heroes in going 11 games unbeaten in Europe. Rangers will be hoping to make that 12 on Thursday night.
13 isn’t either lucky nor unlucky for Rangers with this next stat. They’ve faced Russian opposition on 13 occasions in their history. Impressively, Rangers have only lost two of them.
Only one of those defeats came in Russia to CSKA Moscow back in 2004. That was the only loss for Gers in six trips to Russia.
It also makes for good reading when looking at Spartak’s records. They have lost their last four matches at home in the league, and haven’t won in five. Caretaker coach Raul Riancho has won just one of his four matches in charge.
Moscow have never faced Rangers at home, but did play Celtic on two occasions in the past. Despite Celtic’s woeful away record, the Parkhead side won one and drew the other of their trips to Spartak. That proves that whilst it’s a tricky venue, it certainly isn’t formidable.
Rangers have a real chance of qualification at this stage, but need to be wary of a Spartak backlash.