Rangers’ first step towards the Champions League ended in some despair with a 2-0 defeat by Union Saint-Gilloise in the first leg of their third qualifying round in Belgium.
The Ibrox side’s exciting journey to the Europa League final last season whetted the appetite for European football’s elite club competition.
However, amid a passive first-half performance by the Light Blues, the home side took the lead in the 27th minute when captain Teddy Teuma opened the scoring with a shot which asked questions of Gers keeper Jon McLaughlin’s attempt to save.
A laboured display from Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side continued after the break and a Dante Vanzeir penalty in the 76th minute doubled the Belgian side’s lead.
The return game is at Ibrox next Tuesday and Rangers will have to come up with something really special if they are to face either Monaco or PSV Eindhoven in the play-off.
Andrew Smith gives each Rangers player a mark out of ten for their performance in Belgium ...
1. Jon McLaughlin
Seemed to display poppadom hands in allowing the ball to go through him at the opening goal, but did redeem himself, to an extent, with two fine stops in second period. 6 Photo: Alan Harvey - SNS Group
2. James Tavernier
The Rangers captain’s greatest value comes when the right-back can drive forward and whip in crosses. He simply wasn’t able to input in that fashion whatsover but did make a telling intervention with a final-seconds goalline clearance. 6 Photo: Rob Casey - SNS Group
3. James Sands
A first-half booking the product of indecision was symptomatic of his betwixt and between evening. No surprise when he was withdrawn midway through second period. 4 Photo: Rob Casey - SNS Group
4. Connor Goldson
Was unjustly pulled up by VAR for a handball offence that resulted in Union claiming a second goal from the spot. It summed up the big defender’s miserable night. 5 Photo: Rob Casey - SNS Group