Rangers went to Vienna knowing they needed at least one goal to progress to the last 32.
Understandably, Steven Gerrard picked the team that he thought gave them the best chance of laying a platform to nick that goal in the latter stages.
He packed out the midfield and left Alfredo Morelos to fend for himself up top.
That plan went very well until the hour mark. However, having reached that stage unscathed, surely changes should have been made.
A second striker, Kyle Lafferty, only entered the fray in the 79th minute. That isn’t affording the big man much time to make an impression.
Granted, Lafferty is going through a barren spell. In fact, he hasn’t scored since September.
However, he is undoubtedly a big game player. This is a man who almost single-handedly dragged Northern Ireland to Euro 2016, their first major tournament in 30 years. Whilst at Hearts, he regularly stood up in matches against the Old Firm.
He thrives on big atmospheres and big moments, and that’s something that a player never loses, regardless of form.
Gers had nothing to lose
Gerrard’s men weren’t exactly banging on the door before Lafferty’s introduction either. The keeper made it through 90 minutes without having to make a save.
It isn’t the end of the world that Rangers are out of the Europa League. Attentions can now be exclusively fixed on domestic ambitions, which could provide a slim advantage over their Old Firm rivals.
Yet, Rangers could’ve given themselves more of a chance on the night. As Gerrard told the media before the match, they were the underdogs the whole way through the group stages.
They had nothing to lose. In that case, why not throw caution to the wind.