Journalist Michael Bridge believes the league is “10 times more important” for Glasgow Rangers this season than European success.
Under Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who replaced Steven Gerrard earlier this season, the Gers are set for a thrilling end to the campaign. Not only are they just three points behind top spot in the league ahead of the Old Firm derby this weekend, but they have also reached the Europa League quarter-finals where they will face Portuguese outfit Braga.
What is more important?
the Scottish Premiership
the Europa League
Each tournament carries its own importance, but Bridge believes the Bears should concentrate on the league rather than their European adventure. He told GiveMeSport: “The thing is, it’s so important the league this season because the likelihood is, unless something really strange happens, the winner of the Scottish Premiership is going to go straight through to the group stages.
“So, that’s £20 million, and it’s very unlikely whoever finishes second will get through the Champions League qualifiers. So, the league is genuinely 10 times more important than the Europa League.”
TIF Thoughts on Rangers’ priorities…
It has been 14 years since Rangers made it to the UEFA Cup final, where they lost 2-0 to Zenit St Petersburg. That perhaps offers some perspective as to how much the Gers have achieved this campaign, and with a winnable two-legged tie against Braga to come, there is no reason why they can’t go further.
As Bridge explains, this season’s Premiership offers a special reward. Mainly due to Rangers’ previous European exploits – they have made it to the round of 16 in the Europa League in each of the past two seasons – whoever secures top spot in Scotland’s top flight this term is all but guaranteed to qualify directly for the Champions League group stages.
Given no Scottish side has progressed from the group stages in Europe’s premier club competition since 2013, it is an opportunity not to be missed.
Of course, the financial benefit is the main draw – all 32 sides who played in this season’s group stages received a minimum €15.64m (£13.1m), which does not include TV money or additional prizes offered per win or draw.
However, as enticing as the money is, neither tournament should be viewed as more significant than the other. Rangers have the squad and the infrastructure to deal with both, and there is no reason why they can’t have a real go domestically and internationally as we approach the business end of the season.