After a 2-2 draw in Glasgow, it is all to play for in Eindhoven.
In The Balance
Rangers are potentially 90 minutes away from Champions League group stage football. Can Michael Beale’s men get the job done?
The Promised Land
Twice Rangers found themselves ahead of PSV at Ibrox. Twice the Dutch outfit managed to find parity in Glasgow. A frenetic second half just a week ago has thrust this tie into life and it is a place in the Champions League group stage which is up for grabs.
After an embarrassing opening weekend defeat at Kilmarnock, Rangers are now going through the gears. Boosted by Celtic’s own sluggishness on the domestic front, Michael Beale’s men are now looking confident before the first Old Firm clash of the season.
Before Rangers test their Scottish Premiership mettle against the defending champions, they will look to deal with matters in Eindhoven – a place they visited with some success just 12 months previously.
Whether it be a mere quirk of the draw or simply fate, Rangers and PSV were paired together in last season’s Champions League play-off round and like last week, the first leg ended in a 2-2 draw at Ibrox.
A solid performance from what was then Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side and one that served as the foundation for eventual qualification to the previous edition of the Champions League proper – progress that came courtesy of Antonio Čolak’s winning goal.
The Croatian no longer resides in the blue half of Glasgow, the manager is no longer Van Bronckhorst. A lot has changed in a rather short space of footballing time, even if there are still some constants throughout the team.
Constants that come in the form of James Tavernier and his ability to strike the ball in spot kick or set piece scenarios. There are no certainties in this beautiful game, the sight of the English defender slotting home is almost one of them.
Of course, the focus should not be placed on Rangers alone and even though they were victorious over Ross County on Saturday, PSV had the benefit of being given the weekend off by the Eredivisie fixture computer.
Should PSV progress on Wednesday evening, such a move will have only benefited them. Should they find themselves dumped out, many will wonder if the hiatus only served to become a hindrance instead.
But now it is time for the first of my two tips. First up, I am going for a Rangers win and simply because of the point about PSV’s inactivity. Nobody needs the weekend off at this stage of the campaign and therefore, I am backing the away win at a very tempting 5/1.
At the same time, I am also going to go for the exact imitation of how things panned out here in August 2022. A 1-0 away win is priced at 18/1 and I think at such a price, this is definitely an outcome that needs more consideration.