Playing For Pride
From the first 15 points on offer, Rangers have failed to pick up any. Now Giovanni Van Bronckhorst’s men will look to finish their Champions League campaign on some form of high.
None From Five
After reaching last season’s Europa League final, Rangers developed the taste for more glorious nights on the continent and although they had plenty of reasons to celebrate in Eindhoven in the play-off round, it has been commiserations since.
For the simple reason that the Ibrox outfit has been the whipping boys of Group A, and with even a return to the Europa League having been closed off, the visit of Ajax will constitute nothing more than a dead rubber.
While it is their visit to Amsterdam which set the tempo for this current Champions League campaign. A 4-0 defeat at the hands of Ajax in Matchday 1 served to be the first of five comprehensive losses.
Comprehensive, which comes in conceding 19 goals across this quintet of outings and at an average of 3.8 against per game, manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst has needed to do plenty of soul-searching.
Such were the hopes of Rangers supporters after earning an invite to the group stage that the manner of continual defeat has created severe rumblings of discontent within the blue half of Glasgow.
With no European football in the second half of this season and a four-point deficit to Celtic in the Scottish Premiership, the swagger that they displayed under former boss Steven Gerrard is no longer on display.
Ultimately, the gulf in quality that Rangers have had to compete with is no different from the regular victories that they record over St Johnstone or Kilmarnock back at home, and for once, they and their crosstown rivals, Celtic are getting a taste of their own medicine.
Although six additional European excursions would have swelled the club’s coffers, their image on the continent has taken something of a battering, and now they will have to avoid another one at the hands of Ajax.
Not only have Rangers conceded 19 goals in this campaign, but they have also only scored one, and with this combination of factors in mind, I am ready to serve up my first tip before Tuesday evening.
Although this game is a dead rubber, I cannot see Rangers finding anything extra from their previous five outings. With a shortage of goals at one end and overriding generosity at the other, I am backing Ajax to win and over 3.5 in total at odds of 3/1.
While because of Rangers’ lack of attacking nous in Europe, I expect Ajax to do all the heavy lifting. Although Brian Brobbey has yet to score in this competition, he is certainly the man of the moment in Dutch football, and therefore, I am backing him to net at least a brace at odds of 10/1.
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.