Ufa head coach Sergei Tomarov played down his side’s visa worries as he insisted the Russians are fully focused on halting Rangers.
It was reported over the weekend that Tomarov’s men feared they might be kicked out of the Europa League.
Delays in securing the required paperwork needed to enter the UK ahead of tonight’s play-off first leg at Ibrox left them sweating on their place in the competition.
However, Ufa got the seal of approval from the UK government on Monday – but only after Tomarov and his squad were forced to visit the British Consulate just hours before taking on Moscow Dynamo in the Russian capital.
His side suffered a 3-0 defeat to Dynamo but Tomarov insists there will be no hangover from the drama when they take on Steven Gerrard’s men.
“We didn’t really have an issue with the visas but we had problems with the time because we only found out we were coming here on Thursday, so we had very limited time to apply,” he said. “We played a match on Monday and the British Consulate is based only in Moscow and St Petersburg and we had to allow time to travel there. The actual problem was because we played that game with Dynamo on Monday and we had to be at the consulate the same day, so that was the main hurdle. All the Russian-speaking players had to go to the consulate, even those who did not travel with us today because we were unaware if there might be any injuries or other unexpected delays, so everybody had to go.
In the last round Ufa beat Progres Niederkorn, the Luxembourg minnows who knocked out Pedro Caixinha’s Rangers last year. Tomarov knows Rangers are a different proposition under Gerrard but believes there are weaknesses that can be exploited.
He said: “As far as I know there was big changes at Rangers since last year, so comparing these results would not be appropriate as we’re dealing with two different teams. To my mind Rangers now are quite a strong team with some good players. We have studied them quite well, we know their strong and weak sides and that’s why we’re looking at this game very seriously.”