Kris Boyd believes Rangers are getting “better and better” but will have to improve again if they are to beat PSV Eindhoven and qualify for the Champions League group stage.
The Gers moved into the Champions League play-offs on Tuesday night thanks to a James Tavernier header which salvaged a 1-1 second-leg draw and a 3-2 aggregate win over Servette in Switzerland.
The result sets Rangers up for a repeat of last year’s two-legged tie against PSV Eindhoven as the Scottish Premiership runners-up bid for a second consecutive campaign in the group stages.
Michael Beale’s side are already playing catch-up in the Scottish Premiership after suffering a shock defeat on the opening day at Kilmarnock although Sky Sports’ Boyd reckons there have been signs of improvement.
“After the start to the season Rangers have had, to go over to Switzerland and get the job done, they will be delighted,” he said.
“It wasn’t a fantastic performance, but it was good enough, especially after the first half. Rangers pretty much dominated the second half, so the building blocks are there. They are getting better with each game but unfortunately, you don’t get time in this game.
“There’s a game against Greenock Morton at the weekend before you are up against another powerhouse of European Football from the past. PSV will be a huge challenge.”
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Giovanni van Bronckhorst led Rangers to a 3-2 aggregate victory over PSV last season after a 2-2 draw at Ibrox was followed up with an impressive 1-0 away win.
Boyd is expecting an even tougher challenge for Rangers this time.
“It’s another great opportunity for Rangers to get to the Champions League but PSV Eindhoven will be saying the exact same thing,” he said.
“When you look at the PSV squad there are still a lot of talented players there. Yes, they have lost Cody Gakpo but there are plenty of players still there who can cause you problems.
“However, Rangers have to take confidence from their performances against PSV last year, albeit under different management.
“If Rangers can get to the Champions League it will be a huge boost for the whole football club and also Scottish football as a whole.
“But be under no illusions, it’s going to be a very tough game. PSV have strengthened and look in a stronger position than they were last season.
“Rangers will have to improve again from their first few performances this season if they are going to get a result.
“They are a work in progress at this moment in time. There are so many new faces that need to be integrated into the squad. There are players there still performing at a high level, but it is in the forward areas where the big issue is at this moment in time.”
What’s next for Rangers?
Rangers’ attention turns to the Scottish League Cup with a tie against Championship side Morton on Saturday.
They will then face PSV Eindhoven in their Champions League play-off, with the first leg at Ibrox on August 22.
Their next Scottish Premiership match is away to Ross County on August 26, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 12.30pm.