Rangers will avoid a Champions League showdown with former striker Cedric Itten next season due to the path Swiss champions BSC Young Boys will take to the group stages.
The Gers are gearing up for what will prove a tough Champions League qualification campaign for the second season in a row after once again surrendering the Premiership title to Celtic.
Young Boys will take the Champions Path to this season’s tournament, a route reserved for the winners of respective leagues which do not boast the coefficient for an automatic group stage place.
BSC Young Boys – for whom Cedric Itten has 35-goal involvements this season including 23 strikes – will enter the qualifiers at QR3 but will face other national champions such as those from Greece, Croatia or Norway.
Eventually the winners of the Ukrainian Premier League and the Belgian Pro League – which remain undecided – will enter Champions League qualifying at the Playoff stage.
MORE RANGERS STORIES
Rangers to avoid Cedric Itten and Young Boys
Scotland – for whom Rangers have provided 50% of the nation’s coefficient – have been awarded a group stage place in the last two Champions League campaigns.
Rangers have shot themselves in the foot by first earning the spot at Europe’s top table for the country but then underperforming domestically over the last two years.
Rather than facing the likes of BSC Young Boys and Cedric Itten, Rangers will potentially face teams from some of Europe’s bigger leagues, including France, Portugal and the Netherlands, in the League Path.
The Ibrox side overcame tough tests against Belgian Pro League side Union Saint Gilloise and Eredivisie outfit PSV Eindhoven to reach the group stages for the first time in 12 years last season.
But amid a drastic injury crisis at Ibrox, the club dropped the ball and Rangers were actually the worst-performing Champions League group stage team in history, even if they had a group of death in Liverpool, Napoli and Ajax.
This season, Rangers fans will be hoping their team can first reach the competition before putting in stronger performances, while any potential reunion with Itten will have to wait until the group stages.
The incentive for Rangers and Youngs boys is huge, with clubs getting prize money of £13.5m simply for qualifying to play alongside Europe’s best.
Ced the Ted resurgent but Ibrox spell disappointed
The big striker left Ibrox in the summer after a disappointing two-year stint at the club. While fans took to the Swiss international, he struggled to find rhythm and form in Glasgow.
With a loan spell at Gruether Furth in between, Itten disappointed in both opportunities in the Rangers first team, with his time under Giovanni van Bronckhorst distinctly underwhelming.
Eventually, the club had to play the Europa League Final without a recognised forward and Itten’s Rangers career ended last summer when he returned home – and quickly found form – via BSC Young Boys.
In total, Ced the Ted made 49 appearances for Rangers, scoring eight goals, some of them proving vital on the road to securing the club’s iconic 55th title.