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Confident Rangers eye Euro assault

By Gavin McCafferty

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard insists his team will enter their Europa League group campaign with the aim of progressing after being drawn against Villarreal, Spartak Moscow and Rapid Vienna.

Gerrard and his players discovered their reward for coming through four qualifying ties against teams from Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia and Russia.

Rangers did it the hard way in the play-offs after red cards for Alfredo Morelos and Jon Flanagan forced them into a rearguard action during Thursday's second leg against Russian side Ufa.

But they came away with a 1-1 draw and a 2-1 aggregate win to maintain Gerrard's unbeaten start to management and allow them to look forward to at least six more European encounters this season.

"I'm very excited by it," Gerrard said. "It's brilliant for the players. It's reward for all the hard work and effort and the quality they have shown in the qualifying campaign.

"The three other teams are big names for us, great challenges, and we are really excited and looking forward to it."

Celtic are in Group B with Red Bull Salzburg, RB Leipzig and Rosenborg. Arsenal are in Group E and will take on Sporting Lisbon, Azeri side Qarabag, who held last season's winners Atletico to two draws in last year's Champions League, and Ukraine's Vorskla.

Chelsea have some travelling to do in Group L after being handed trips to Greece, Belarus and Hungary.

They have been grouped with PAOK Salonika, Belarusian champions BATE Borisov and Hungarian title-winners Vidi.

Belfast Telegraph

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