Team news and stats ahead of Slavia Prague vs Rangers in the Europa League last 16 on Thursday; kick-off 5.55pm.
Steven Gerrard has decided not to risk Ryan Jack ahead of Rangers’ opening clash with Europa League last-16 opponents Slavia Prague on Thursday.
The Scotland midfielder has shrugged off a calf complaint but Ibrox boss Gerrard has decided to keep back Jack for the second leg at Ibrox next week.
Skipper James Tavernier (knee) is still out along with long-term victim Nikola Katic (knee), the suspended Leon Balogun and ineligible Jermain Defoe but Kemar Roofe does return from a calf complaint.
Both the former Leeds striker and midfielder Glen Kamara are just one yellow card away from a ban.
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- This will be Rangers’ first ever meeting with Slavia Prague in European competition; they last faced Czech opposition in the 2002-03 UEFA Cup first round, going out on away goals to Viktoria Zizkov.
- Despite winning all three of their home games against Czech opponents in European competition, Rangers have been eliminated in each such tie – to Dukla Prague in the 1981-82 Cup Winners’ Cup, Sparta Prague in the 1991-92 European Cup and Viktoria Zizkov in the 2002-03 UEFA Cup.
- Rangers will be the third Scottish club to face Slavia Prague in major European competition; the previous two both progressed – St Mirren in the 1985-86 UEFA Cup first round and Hearts in the 1992-93 UEFA Cup first round.
- Slavia Prague have only lost one of their last 10 home matches in the UEFA Europa League (W6 D3), a 1-0 defeat against Chelsea in a quarter-final match in April 2019.
- Rangers forward Alfredo Morelos has been directly involved in 15 goals (nine goals & six assists) in 17 UEFA Europa League appearances since the start of last season, the most of any player; this season alone the Colombian has three goals and five assists in eight matches.