Glasgow Rangers return to the group stages of European competition tonight for the first time since their woeful Champions League campaign during 2022/23.
Across six matches, the Gers failed to win a point, conceded 22 goals, and scored only twice, and this turned out to be the worst ever performance in the group stages of the competition.
There will be no repeats this year as Michael Beale’s men failed to quality for the premier club competition, having to settle for Europa League football, and perhaps it will be a blessing in disguise, given that the Gers reached the final the last time they featured in the event.
The club haven’t exactly enjoyed the best of starts to the 2023/24 campaign and Beale will be hoping they could kick off their European ambitions with a victory over Real Betis.
What has Rangers’ recent form been like?
Upon resuming domestic duty following the international break, the Light Blues secured a fairly comfortable win against St Johnstone, yet before that, their form had been patchy, to say the least.
They had managed just four wins from nine matches, with defeats to PSV Eindhoven and Celtic looking like it had the potential to derail their season before it had even begun just a few weeks ago.
Danilo managed to get on the scoresheet against the Saints last weekend but suffered a fractured cheekbone and will now miss the next few matches.
The Brazilian has enjoyed a bright start to life in Glasgow, scoring three goals already, and he will be a miss against the Spanish side. Beale may just have the perfect alternative, however, as Kemar Roofe is available.
Will Kemar Roofe start for Rangers against Real Betis?
Against St Johnstone, Roofe dropped slightly deeper and operated in the space just behind Danilo, and while he did make one key pass and took two shots during the tie, it’s clear that he could be more of a danger when pushed further forward.
With Danilo missing, Beale should certainly replace him with the Jamaican international, especially as he has returned to form this term.
Indeed, Rangers Review journalist Jonny McFarlane praised him just a week into the new season, saying: “Rangers need to be bringing a fit Kemar Roofe into the fold more readily. Proven at this level while others get up to the pace of Scotland and demands of Rangers. Looking a bit flat up there in these early domestic skirmishes.”
On his first start since April 2022 against Ross County just a few weeks ago, the 30-year-old scored the opening goal while causing chaos for their defence, and it was no surprise to see him keep his place in the starting XI for the Celtic clash a week later.
Roofe displayed his physical nature against Celtic, winning four of his seven aerial duels and he managed to find the back of the net, albeit it was ruled out unfairly. His overall performance was positive, however.
The 5 foot 10 dynamo could make the difference against Betis this evening and an opening win would see the Gers stamp their authority on a tough group.