Rangers boss Steven Gerrard would rather face Ufa than see forfeit

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Steven Gerrard insists he would rather Rangers fight for their place in the Europa League than allow Ufa’s visa woes to hand them a walk-over into the group stage.

READ MORE - Rangers’ Europa League opponents Ufa ‘may have to forfeit’

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. Picture: PA

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. Picture: PA

According to reports, the Russians fear they may have to forfeit their place in the competition as they are struggling to get the paper work required to allow them to visit Ibrox for Thursday’s play-off first leg completed in time.

A decision is due to be made on Monday, but Gerrard would prefer to see the Light Blues earn their place in the round-robin phase.

Speaking after his side booked a spot in the last eight of the Betfred Cup with a 3-1 win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, he said: “I heard about it just before the game and we will have to wait and see how that pans out.

“I hope they get the visas and I hope they come. We are in a good place, we are looking forward to the game and the challenge and we want Ibrox to be rocking again for another great European night.

“We will see what happens. It is not really for me to comment on. I hope they get the issue resolved and we look forward to the challenge. I can’t wait to walk out at Ibrox with it bouncing.”

Ufa set up their trip to Glasgow by knocking out out Progres Neiderkorn on Thursday, but the short turnaround after that match in Luxembourg has left club officials scrambling, with current tensions between the UK and Russia making the situation more complex.

They are now hoping to have the matter fast-tracked through the UK Embassy, but Ufa’s president Shamil Gazizov admits the tie currently hangs in the balance.

He was quoted by the Scottish Sun saying: “We are actively engaged in trying to obtain British visas. But everyone must understand this is a very difficult and challenging situation.

“After the game against Dinamo (Moscow), we will go with our prepared documents to the British Embassy.

“We hope they are able to accelerate the process, but we will know for certain what is happening on Monday.

“We have been told even the accelerated process takes a minimum of five days so that would obviously not be enough time for us.”