The players were on a high following the win over St Mirren that contributed to the title success, confirmed by Celtic’s failure to beat Dundee United on Sunday, handing Rangers their first top league championship in a decade.
However Steven Gerrard will not allow them to rest on their laurels and it’s down to business in Prague, kicking off a Europa League double-header for the team, with the second leg coming next week and Gerrard’s side not in action this weekend.
Here’s all you need to know ahead of Thursday’s game.
Who: Slavia Prague v Rangers
What: UEFA Europa League – knock-out stage – last 16, first leg
Where: Sinobo Stadium, Prague
When: 5.55pm, Thursday March 11, 2021
How to watch
BT Sports have the European football right in the UK which means it’s BT Sport 3 (Sky channel 413) for Rangers fans. The programme coverage begins at 5.30pm and will also be available to stream via the BT Sport app.
Viewers with an EE mobile phone could be able to tune in free with an offer from the company, by texting SPORT to 150.
Two unbeaten sides domestically have been paired in the Europa League and each boasts a formidable record. For Slavia, who won an astonishing 10-3 a fortnight ago, their European form is strong – but not unblemished like Rangers’ is. Bayer Leverkusen, FC Midjtyland and Hapoel Be’er Sheva have all recorded wins over the Czech league leaders – who have stretched to an 11-point lead over city rivals Sparta in the domestic league during their unbeaten run in the Czech Liga.
Who to Watch
Jan Kuchta is the star striker having moved to the Sinorbo Stadium from Slovan Liberc in the summer and has fired 11 goals in the course of the season – a tally matched by fellow forward Abdallah Dipo Sima. However the man to watch is Romanian midfielder Nicolae Stanciu – the 27-year-old who is close friends with international team-mate Ianis Hagi. Stanciu is joined by Lukas Provod – another creator of several of Slavia’s goals, and the pair combined for the opening goal against Leicester City in the previous round.
Rangers have never faced Slavia Prague – only city rivals Sparta and Dukla. Steven Gerrard’s side have been upsetting the record books recently and they will have to do it again – in each of three meetings with teams from what is now the Czech Republic Rangers have been knocked out. Dukla saw off John Greig’s side in 1981 with a 3-0 away win unable to be overturned at Ibrox in a 2-1 win. Indeed Rangers have never scored on Czech soil. Sparta Prague knocked out Walter Smith’s side in 1991 on away goals, just as Viktoria Zizkov did to Alex McLeish’s side in the 2002/03 Uefa Cup.