Photo Rangers
Photo Rangers

Rangers will need to dust themselves off after falling at the first Champions League hurdle in 2021/22 as they prepare for another Europa League campaign.

The Gers qualified for the peak of European club football for the first time since 2012 but history repeated itself as Swedish unit Malmo defeated Rangers in the qualifying round, just as they did nine years ago.

Steven Gerrard now faces the test of regrouping his squad to go again in the Europa League. They reached the Round of 16 last season against the odds and will feel as though they blew their chance of progressing further against Slavia Prague.

Rangers vs Alashkert: Kick-off Time and Venue

Rangers take on Alashkert on Thursday.

Kick-off is at 8pm.

The first leg of the Europa League play-off match will be played at Ibrox with the return leg in Armenia.

How to watch live Rangers vs Alashkert

Photo 101 great goals
Photo 101 great goals

Unfortunately this game has not been selected for live broadcast on TV but further rounds of the competition will be shown on BT Sport.

Currently, the only way to watch the game live without being in the stands at Ibrox is to stream it via RangersTV for a one-off fee of £9.99.

Coverage of the game also comes with a free pass to watch a friendly clash between Rangers Women and Manchester United.

Rangers vs Alashkert Head-to-Head

This will be the first competitive meeting between the sides. Rangers returned to winning ways last Friday after a debilitating week that saw them lose three consecutive games to dire consequences.

Alashkert's victory last week was their sole win in their last six games in all competitions.

Rangers vs Alashkert Team News

Photo 101 great goals
Photo 101 great goals

After making several changes to his team for the Premier Sports Cup last-16 tie with Dunfermline, it's expected that Steven Gerrard will draft many of his big guns back in for this must-win European game.

Alfredo Morelos would be one who should come back into the fold, although Kemar Roofe has a storming game against the Pars.

Nathan Patterson and Calvin Bassey both played well in the cup too, but Gerrard will likely revert back to James Tavernier and Borna Barisic in the full-back areas

Allan McGregor also likely to return between the sticks in place of Jon McLaughlin.

Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara continues to serve a continental suspension following the ugly scenes against Slavia Prague, with Steven Davis once again expected to fill the void in midfield.

Ryan Jack and Nnamdi Ofoborh remain on the treatment table, while Roofe's double at the weekend will surely not be enough to see him keep his place up top over Morelos, but Fashion Sakala missed out against Dunfermline due to a groin problem.

A healthy mix of youth and experience got the job done against Dunfermline, but Gerrard is sure to reinstate the likes of James Tavernier, Allan McGregor and Ryan Kent to the first XI on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Alashkert manager Grigoryan shuffled the pack considerably for his side's recent league encounter with Van, and the bountiful changes did not pay off during a lowly 2-0 defeat.

The visiting manager will therefore recall some of his big-hitters to the first XI, namely Jose Embalo, who scored two of his side's three goals in their thrilling second-leg win over Kairat

Artak Grigoryan and David Khurtsidze should also both return to a rejigged midfield, while goalkeeper Ognjen Cancarevic is one of the few players who can feel confident of retaining his place from the weekend.

Rangers possible starting lineup:

McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Balogun, Barisic; Aribo, Davis, Lundstram; Hagi, Morelos, Kent

Alashkert FC possible starting lineup:

Cancarevic; Cameta, Voskanyan, Kadio, Boljevic; Grigoryan, Khurtsidze, Hovsepyan; Papikyan, Embalo, James

Rangers vs Alashkert odds

In working partnership with the Radio Times, bet365 has provided the following betting odds for this event:

bet365 odds: Rangers (1/6) Draw (7/1) Alashkert (11/1)*

For all the latest Europa League odds and more, visit bet365 today and claim an opening account offer of ‘Up to £100 in Bet Credits**’, utilising the bonus code ‘RT365’.

*Odds subject to change. 18+. T&Cs apply. Note – The bonus code RT365 does not change the offer amount in any way.

Rangers vs Alashkert Prediction

Gerrard won’t demand a perfect display or elegant performance, he will simply want the job done early doors.

Don’t expect Rangers to dominate from the first minute to the last, but their relative quality should shine through over the course of 90 minutes to secure a solid if unspectacular victory.

Our prediction: Rangers 2-0 Alashkert (9/2 at bet365)

Rangers' first Scottish Premiership title win in 10 years - and a very convincing one at that - did not translate into a first Champions League group stage appearance in 11 years, as Malmo once again proved to be a banana skin for the Ibrox outfit during qualifying.

After dumping Rangers out in the third preliminary round during the 2011-12 season, Malmo came up with the goods 10 years later to send the Scottish champions packing at the same stage this time around, as Gerrard's men lost 2-1 home and away and must now fight for the right to reach the Europa League proper.

The ex-Liverpool captain admitted that things went "badly wrong" for his side in the second leg at Ibrox, where Alfredo Morelos's opener and a red card for Malmo's Bonke Innocent seemed a certain recipe for success, but the 10-man visitors struck twice in four minutes through Antonio Colak to leave Gerrard ruing a lacklustre second-half display.

A 1-0 league loss to Dundee United was sandwiched in between those two defeats to Malmo during a week where nothing could go right for Gerrard in the dugout, but his side did restore some parity with a 5-0 Scottish League Cup drubbing of Dunfermline at the weekend, with Kemar Roofe (two), Ianis Hagi, Scott Wright and John Lundstram finding the back of the net.

A fourth consecutive appearance in the Europa League group stages is not sealed just yet, but Rangers are yet to taste defeat at this stage of qualifying and certainly hold the favourites tag against their relatively unknown visitors.

The second-round curse once again bedevilled Alashkert in Champions League qualifying, as they were stopped in their tracks at that stage by Sheriff Tiraspol to drop down to the Europa League.

Having played out a goalless stalemate with Kazakhstan powerhouses Kairat Almaty in the first leg of their third-round qualifying tie, Alashkert could not make their two-man advantage count in normal time following a pulsating 2-2 draw in 90 minutes during the second leg, but the nine men of Kairat ultimately bowed out as substitute Aleksandar Glisic netted a 103rd-minute winner.

The Armenian champions only boast a very brief history in UEFA competitions, with the 2015-16 campaign representing their first stint on the continental stage, and Aleksandr Grigoryan has already led his side to their best-ever finish in Europe as they seek to defy the odds and make the Europa League group stages.

Alashkert previously faced Celtic during the first round of 2018-19 Champions League qualification and fell to a 6-0 aggregate defeat, and their title defence in the Armenian Premier League has also started miserably with back-to-back defeats to Ararat-Armenia and Van in August.

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