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Sir Kenny Dalglish: Rangers aren’t out of it – and nor are West Ham

© Matthias Schrader/AP/ShutterstockCalvin Bassey and Connor Goldson stood firm against Leipzig for most the game
Calvin Bassey and Connor Goldson stood firm against Leipzig for most the game

Despite the 1-0 defeat to RB Leipzig last Thursday night, I still fancy Rangers to reach the Europa League Final.

Before a ball was kicked in the semi-finals, I predicted the Light Blues would meet West Ham in Seville on May 18.

But Eintracht Frankfurt are now firmly in the driving seat after their 2-1 win in London.

That said, David Moyes had a brilliant away win in Lyon in the quarter-final, so they know how to get success on the road.

As for Rangers, Giovanni van Bronckhorst would have preferred a goal-less draw in the first leg, and they came within five minutes of getting it.

The Dutchman’s tactics were good, going with a defensive formation to keep Leipzig at bay.

Gio had his players well-drilled, and they carried out his plan with a decisive performance.

Without a proper No. 9 due to Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe both being injured, the Light Blues boss had to be imaginative and creative.

He used various players in that role, and they dipped in and out of being centre-forward.

They had one or two chances, and they could have scored.

As much as it was a blow not to have a main striker, at least there wasn’t an onus on Rangers to win the game in Germany.

With the away goals rule no longer used, there wasn’t pressure to find the back of the net.

That allowed Rangers to focus on defending, and every player put in a great shift. Connor Goldson and Calvin Bassey were first-class.

And when called upon, Allan McGregor was there when he needed to be.

But it will be different this Thursday at Ibrox. Rangers need to score, and they will be pushed on by almost 50,000 home fans.

The atmosphere they created against Braga in the last round was very special. It will be even better this time, I’m certain of that.

The manager will be desperate for Roofe to be fit. Rangers will need him, and they will have a better chance of making the Final if he plays against Leipzig.

I will be interested to see how the Germans approach the second leg. I’m sure they’ll be happy and comfortable sitting in, and letting Rangers come at them.

They have pace in their team, and they will look to exploit their hosts on the counter-attack. So Rangers must be focused, and fully concentrated.

But before we see that tie, we will be looking at the Old Firm clash this afternoon.

Rangers’ Scott Arfield celebrates equalising against Celtic at Hampden (Pic: Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Now, no manager, player or supporter would ever concede a game to their fiercest rivals. But the destiny of the Premiership title is not in Gers’ hands.

They need to win to keep the pressure on Celtic.

Even if they defeat Ange Postecoglou’s men today, they will still be looking for the Hoops to drop four points in their final three games against Hearts, Dundee United and Motherwell.

That’s highly unlikely to happen.

But the Europa League is something Rangers can control. The destiny of that tournament lies with them.

What’s the most important thing? Success over Celtic today, or reaching a European Final?

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Celtic winning today to all but clinch the title. It’s well-deserved for big Ange Postecoglou and his players.

Rangers can also have a successful week, and I’ll be interested to see Giovanni’s team selection for today.

I don’t think he can make too many changes. His team needs to be strong.

If he leaves out too many players we’d regard as starters, then it’s sending out a message that they are tired. That’s not the way to go about it.

So it makes for an interesting few days.

The games are coming thick and fast, and this will be the fourth Old Firm game in three months, and the fifth of the season.

It stands at two wins apiece just now. With home advantage, my former club should edge it today – but it will be very, very close.