Rangers begin their competitive campaign on Thursday as they tackle Progres Niederkom of Luxembourg at Ibrox, where a sold-out crowd will welcome their club back to Europe after an absence of six years.
The Scottish club finished a disappointing third in the Premiership last season and manager Pedro Caixinha has undertaken a dramatic overhaul of his squad over the summer, with seven new players already signed, and says that there is still business to be done.
The Gers have played three friendly matches before this Europa League first qualifying round first-leg encounter and, though results have been mixed, these have been geared up to ensure they are in as strong a position as possible for this encounter.
It is a match that they are expected to win comfortably and failure to do so will tarnish what has been an excellent week for the club, with Mike Ashley agreeing to sell his final stake, leading to an end of the supporters' long boycott of official merchandise.
|Game||Rangers vs Progres Niederkorn|
|Date||Thursday, June 29|
TV CHANNEL & LIVE STREAM
In the UK, the match will be available to watch liveon television on Premier Sports and by stream via the Premier Player app.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Premier Sports||Premier Player|
SQUADS & TEAM NEWS
Rangers have announced that all seven of their summer signings are available, so debuts could be handed to Fabio Cardoso, Daniel Candeias, Dalcio, Eduardo Herrera, Ryan Jack, Alfredo Morelos and Carlos Pena. Candeias had initially been left out of the squad due to a delay in his paperwork, but that has been cleared.
On the injury front, former Liverpool defender Danny Wilson is absent but there is good new as Croatia international Niko Kranjcar returns from a serious knee injury that has kept him out since October 2016.
Veteran Portugal defender Bruno Alves, who was recently added to the squad, misses out due to Confederations Cup duty.
Matt Crooks, Joe Dodoo, Harry Forrester, Rob Kiernan and Michael O'Halloran all failed to make the European squad, while Andy Halliday was loaned to Azerbaijani outfit Gabala on Wednesday.
Progres are also playing their first match of the new season, having finished last term a distant fourth in the Luxembourg top flight.
They have few recognisable faces, though Ismael Bouzid used to play in Scotland with Hearts. He has not been named in the squad.
Former RB Leipzig player Maximilian Watzka, midfielder Sebastien Thill and ex-Metz man Mario Mutsch are their most well-known players otherwise.
BETTING & GAME ODDS
Rangers are 1/20 favourites to win the match according to Oddschecker , with Progres priced at 50/1 and the draw through 90 minutes available at 14/1.
Rangers start as hot favourites to win this encounter, and as such there is a good deal of pressure on them to do to so handsomely.
While they are a vastly superior side to their opponents on paper, the opportunity for Caixinha to mould his squad has been minimal at best, and while they should record a victory, doing so by a comfortable margin would have to be seen as a very positive step in the right direction for the former Al-Gharafa boss, who still has his doubters.
After years in the wilderness, Rangers are eager to make an impression in Europe - and that means qualifying for the group stages of the competition, even if that is an ambitious target after six years away from this level.
Nevertheless, the coach is bullish about what he has achieved this summer and what his side is already capable of.
"This match is what we have been working hard to prepare in order to deliver tomorrow a fantastic game and a fantastic qualifier," he explained.
"Two days ago the stadium sold out, so all the club is very enthusiastic about it’s return to Europe after six years, and we hope to delight and give to the fans a fantastic match, a fantastic tie and a fantastic qualification after these six years.
“There has been too much time waiting for this moment and we want to deliver a good team to our fans. We have some changes, but some players didn’t start with us on June 5 so they will not be with us tomorrow. I can tell you we will maybe have four new players in the first XI and two or three more on the bench."
Indeed, he is delighted with the support he has been given in the transfer market thus far and is confident more good work will be done.
"All of the players we have brought in this short time were our first choices, and we know the other players we are going to bring will be first choices also," he explained.
“We still have two months in front of us knowing exactly what we are going to get and we are going to get it.”
On Thursday, Rangers receive their first acid test after beating Coleraine and drawing with St Johnstone and The New Saints in friendlies. It is one that they should pass.