Rangers in Europe: The incredible stats behind Steven Gerrard's Euro success

Rangers fans were left scratching their head on Wednesday night, once celebrations of their progression to the last-16 of the Europa League had begun to simmer.

Ryan Kent netted the goal which put Rangers into the Europa League last-16. Picture: Getty
Ryan Kent netted the goal which put Rangers into the Europa League last-16. Picture: Getty

The Jekyll and Hyde nature of Steven Gerrard’s side has been evident since the return from the winter break. Progression in Europe and the Scottish Cup has been at odds with the league form which has seen the team drop 12 points behind rivals Celtic in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

The question has been mused: How can Rangers go to Portugal and beat Braga, having also turned around a two-goal deficit at Ibrox the previous week, but lose to bottom-of-the-table Hearts?

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There have been a number of reasons floated, from mentality to the injury problems suffered by James Tavernier and Borna Barisic.

In terms of the disparity between European form and league form, it seems pretty simple, this Steven Gerrard side is more suited to playing in Europe.

It was witnessed in Braga’s iconic Municipal Stadium.

Rangers allowed the opposing centre-backs to have possession, then when the ball came into their half they pushed the side sitting third in Liga NOS down the sides and then dealt with any crosses. When they won the ball back they counter-attacked and utilised the space behind the Braga defence.

It was the latest impressive performance by Gerrard and Rangers in Europe.

In the last two seasons the Ibrox club have played 30 matches in Europe, losing just three and winning 15. During that run they have kept 16 clean sheets.

Twice they have reached the group stages having started in the first qualifying round. They became the first side starting at such a point in the competition to reach the last-16.

They became the first Scottish club to win both legs of a European knock-out tie (excluding qualifiers) since Celtic did so in November 2002 when they defeated Blackburn Rovers on their way to the Uefa Cup final (courtesy of @SPLStats).

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Rangers enter the draw for the last-16 as one of the teams the other 15 entrants would likely want to face due to the Scottish flag which will sit next to their name. But they should be feared on the continent going by their performances in the last two European campaigns.