PEDRO CAIXINHA says Rangers are representing all of Scotland in the Europa League tonight – not just themselves.

The Light Blues gaffer pointed to the nation’s low UEFA coefficient, and by extension, the fact Rangers are back playing competitive football less than six weeks since their last meaningful game.

He realises it’s a far from ideal situation, but it’s one he wants to rectify in future years by building both the club’s and the country’s ranking up to ensure in future years, Gers and other Scottish teams enter European competitions at the later rounds.

Speaking at yesterday’s press conference, he said: “Scotland is 23rd in the list of UEFA coefficients and has less than 20 points. If you pass this qualifier, you get 0.25 points, past the second you get 0.5, afterwards you get one point and then 1.5 point.

“It’s nothing. We had just two weeks’ vacation which was nothing, and then three weeks to prepare for a competitive game, which again, is nothing.

“I know I need to be focussed as I know I am defending this massive club and we are really, really proud to be back in Europe and to give that back to our fans.

“But we are also defending the country, and defending the country means you need to collect the points to get the level of the coefficient up.”

Caixinha has been impressed with what he has seen from his team in terms of a new style of play in the pre-season matches.

He hopes that can be replicated tonight against Progrès Niederkorn, and going into that game, he has only one injury concern with the long-term injured Danny Wilson set to miss out.

He continued: “In the pre-season games we have had, the team has reproduced what we want them to do in each of the moments of the game. They are, not only have more clarity on what we need them to do, but they are enjoying doing it as well.

“We need to expect that and will always progress in that direction. Danny Wilson is the only one who will not be with us and we expect to have him back in a week’s time maybe.

“We have received three new players too [Niko Kranjcar, Jordan Rossiter and Lee Wallace] and they are doing fantastic. For sure, they are going to, like all the team, have a fantastic season.”

Caixinha also revealed young defender Ross McCrorie will have a role to play in his squad this season.

He added: “We also have Ross McCrorie who is a fantastic prospect for the club. He was fantastic at the Toulon Tournament and he is with us, so he has a chance through the season.

“He will be one of the five centre-halves we have, and all of them will have chances to play. That is what we intend – we want a competitive squad.”




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