Former Rangers player Ian Murray has stressed the importance of the club being in the Champions League on a consistent basis moving forward.
Having secured their first league title since 2010/11 last season, Rangers were given the chance of playing in this season’s Champions League, only to find themselves knocked out at the first hurdle in the third qualifying round by Swedish side Malmo, with Rangers instead heading into the Europa League.
Missing out on playing in Europe’s top competition meant they missed out on a potentially massive financial windfall through a combination of prize money and sponsorships.
Will Rangers win the league this season?
Speaking on the latest edition of the Record Rangers podcast, Murray, who spent two years at the club, explained how much qualifying for the Champions League means for a club like Rangers and Old Firm rivals Celtic from a financial aspect:
“I think obviously Rangers want to be in the Champions League every single year. It’s a great opportunity this season for two Scottish clubs to get in, at least into the play-off for it.
“That’s where Rangers need to be, it’s financially such a huge gulf if you’re not in it.
“And again it just comes with expectancy. Once you do it once, you win the league, you want to try and get into the Champions League, and it’s the same as Celtic, they were doing it for years, and suddenly they’re not in it. And it just deflates people as well, it deflates the supporters and obviously the income for the club is massive.”
TIF Thoughts on Ian Murray’s comments about Rangers and the Champions League…
Having managed to take a huge step forward under Steven Gerrard last year in winning the title, the next step for them should be establishing themselves back at Europe’s top table like they were for a long time before their financial issues.
And with the financial injection that just one season could bring them, when you take into account how much Scottish teams tend to spend on transfers – at least compared to clubs in England – you get the sense that just one season in the Champions League could set them up for years to come.
And with the league winners this season likely to get an automatic spot in the group stages rather than having to qualify, it adds an extra importance for a club like Rangers to win the league, because it could give them the springboard to be more financially secure for the foreseeable future.