Rangers' Europa League rivals Rapid Vienna hire priest to deliver '˜divine inspiration'

Rangers' Europa League opponents Rapid Vienna have hired a PRIEST - a week before the Gers travel to Austria in their final group match.

Rapid Vienna's starting XI line up ahead of their Europa League Group G clash with Spartak Moscow last month. Picture: Getty Images

Steven Gerrard’s side need a win to take the Light Blues through to the knockout stages - but Rapid are hopeful that Father Christoph Pelczar can help inspire the Austrians to victory.

The football-mad Fr Pelczar, who recently published a book about his love of God and football - titled Glaube, Liebe, Rapid (Belief, Love, Rapid) - also arranged for the squad to have a private audience with the Pope.

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The clergyman, who insists supporting Rapid Vienna can “absolutely be a religion” added: “There are similar rituals of hymns, songs and advents.

“Religion has to offer solutions. There is a search for something greater, and it is not blasphemy for me to say so.”

Rapid midfielder Dejan Ljubicic, who was caught on camera hurling beer bottles at a mosque 12 months ago, has claimed that Fr Pelczar has been a huge help in getting his life back on track.

“He gave me the strength to rise up again,” the Vienna-born player said. “I was on the floor after making a huge mistake [but] he gave me the power to prove myself, and show that I am a good person.”

Rangers face Rapid in the Austrian capital on Thursday.