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Steven Gerrard daring to dream of European glory with champions Rangers

The newly crowned Scottish Premiership winners are well-placed to reach the Europa League quarter-finals.

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Rangers boss Steven Gerrard is dreaming of going all the way in the Europa League (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard is dreaming of going all the way in the Europa League (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard is dreaming of going all the way in the Europa League (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Steven Gerrard says Rangers will dare to dream of going all the way in the Europa League.

The newly crowned Scottish champions have ambitions of making their mark on the continent and Gerrard is refusing to put a limit on their targets after Thursday’s 1-1 last-16 draw with Slavia Prague.

The Czechs dumped Brendan Rodgers’ Premier League big guns Leicester out of the competition in the previous round but Gers more than held their own after a sticky start at the Eden Arena.

The result – and Filip Helander’s away goal – now puts the Light Blues in a commanding position to progress to the quarter-finals following next Thursday’s second leg at Ibrox.

And Gerrard said: “One hundred per cent we’ll dream. We’ve been dreaming since we qualified. There’s no harm in dreaming.

“But at the same time you’ve got to have respect for the opposition.

“You’ve got to realise the challenge and what’s coming up against you.

“This is a side who have gone away to a Premier League team and won comfortably, so in no way can we get carried away.

“It’s always nice to dream but we probably have to find our biggest performance of the season at Ibrox to get this done.”

Like Gers, Slavia are unbeaten in their domestic title race and lead the Czech First League by 11 points after 22 games.

The Ibrox squad enjoyed their wild weekend of celebrations after being declared Scottish champions for the first time in a decade – but there was an early sickener in Prague as Nicolae Stanciu rifled a stunning opening goal past Allan McGregor.

Helander tapped home to square the match up as the colour returned to Rangers’ cheeks.

But McGregor was the real hero of the night with his breathtaking one-handed stop in the final minute, meaning it is Gerrard’s team who sit in the driving seat ahead of next week’s return.

But the Ibrox boss is taking nothing for granted just yet.

“They are a real good team, a real powerful team,” said Gerrard. “They are effective, they play vertical. We knew they weren’t going to kill us from a technical point of view. But we knew we would have to match them physically in terms of their running power.

“We managed to do that after the opening stages of the game.

“But in no way in this game over or are we in any way, shape or form favourites.

“I think this tie sits 50-50 and it’s a real exciting match to look forward to at Ibrox.”

But Gers should have the luxury of increased options after Kemar Roofe returned to the action off the bench in the Czech capital.

However, Gerrard was more cautious on Ryan Jack’s chances of featuring next week, saying: “I’d still say Jack is a doubt at this stage. He’d have to have a real positive four or five days coming up to be available.

“It’s great to have Kemar back and a cameo will do him the world of good.

“If we can keep him here and get Jacko back as soon we can, with James Tavernier after that, we’ll be in real good shape to finish the season as strongly as we can.”

PA


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