Steven Gerrard’s Rangers begin their Europa League qualifying campaign with a trip to face Gibraltar minnows Lincoln Red Imps.
The SPFL title challengers only exited the protracted 2019-20 Europa League last month, losing the second leg of their clash with Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen 1-0, but they’ve made an excellent start to their domestic campaign since the season began in early August.
It’s 19 points from 21 available for Gerrard’s men as they sit top of the Scottish table, keeping seven consecutive clean sheets while looking particularly strong going forward in Saturday’s 4-0 victory over Dundee United, with four different names on the scoresheet.
The priority will be avoiding injuries here and maintaining that league form as they look to end bitter rivals Celtic’s bid for a tenth consecutive league title, and Gerrard is expected to make widespread rotations here with a second-string line-up.
That should be enough to see Rangers comfortably through here. The Red Imps are the perennial champions of Gibraltar, but play in a league ranked 46th in the UEFA coefficients, with next to no historical pedigree in European competition - although they did famously beat Celtic four years ago, 1-0 on home soil, a result dubbed ‘the shock of Gibraltar’ - before losing the return leg of the qualifier 3-0.
A repeat of that 1-0 scoreline is a massive 55/1 with Betfair Sportsbook, while the Red Imps are 22/1 to win in 90 minutes and 12/1 to qualify. Rangers are priced at just 1/14 to win in 90 minutes and incredibly short odds of 1/200 to qualify.
Given those circumstances, there’s next to no value to be found in a Rangers victory, while backing an upset would be a fool’s errand. We recommend looking at other markets here, such as the goalscorers - with Gerrard expected to name a semi-strong line-up to avoid any blushes here, and a squad that’s limited by mounting injuries.
Summer signing Cedric Itten scored twice in Gibraltar for Switzerland last year and will be looking for similar results here - against a side that make up a large proportion of the Gibraltar national team. He’s priced at 11/4 to score first here, and 8/13 to score anytime, with odds from Paddy Power.
*All prices correct at the time of writing and subject to change
Cedric Itten to score first - 11/4