CLAUDIO REYNA sees no reason why Rangers can’t get back to competing at the very top level of European football in the near future.
Reyna played 26 times in European competition for the Light Blues in his spell in Glasgow, and scored a memorable goal against Parma in 1999 as Dick Advocaat’s side qualified for the Champions League.
Now, the Director of Football Operations at New York City FC reckons his former club have what it takes to re-establish themselves in continental competition despite the obvious discrepancy some clubs have over Gers in financial terms.
He explained: “The goal for a club like Rangers is to have special nights in European competition. It’s something I believe is going to happen, but it may take a little bit of time because of the difficulties of dealing with the dynamics with the way finances have changed.
“They have to find a way, and I think the belief in Scotland has to be a couple of things. They have to focus on player development, and there has to be inspiration as there are clubs around Europe who are not in the big four or five leagues but they do well, and I always ask myself the question – why not Rangers?
“This is a big enough club which should still be able to compete even though they don’t have the same financial power as the Premier League clubs or the Spanish clubs.
“It’s not easy, and definitely easier said than done, but there is no reason why Rangers can’t be like a Sporting Lisbon or a Benfica, or the teams in Holland or the teams in the smaller countries that still compete despite not spending a lot of money.
“They have to first believe in that, develop the strategy to get there and stay along that path to get that.”
Reyna still keeps tabs on Rangers’ results when he can, and he revealed he is making plans to head to Glasgow next season for the derby match with Celtic.
He added: “I’ve been following the team and it’s great they are back in the Premiership now where they belong. The fans have been patient but also extremely supportive when they had to drop down to the Third Division. I think that’s really shown what the club is about as the fans never left, and I am really looking forward to trying to come back this season for one of the Old Firm games at Ibrox, and to bring my family back and live that experience again.
“I am certainly looking forward to it and it was great they were able to get that amazing result in the cup semi-final, and hopefully that was a taste of what’s to come.
“With social media and Twitter it is very easy to follow all the results, and I will be doing the same thing and watching games when I can. I’ll be cheering them on and making every effort to get back to the Old Firm game at a minimum, and if not, one of the other games as I’d love to take my kids and experience the atmosphere at Ibrox and visit again and reconnect with the club.”