Sparta Prague vs RangersUEFA Europa League, KO: 17:45 Oct 26, 2023, Letna Stadium
PHILIPPE CLEMENT passed his first test as Rangers manager with flying colours after trouncing Hibs 4-0 in his opening game in charge.
But he faces an altogether tougher challenge on Thursday as he takes his side to the Czech Republic to face league leaders and champions Sparta Prague.
The new Belgian boss would have been delighted at the effort shown by his under-fire players as they breezed past Hibs. How much of that was down to his methods is open for debate.
What's not in debate is Rangers need to vastly improve from their last game in Europe when they produced a risible display in Cyprus as they went down to Aris Limassol which went a long way to costing Michael Beale his job.
They face a Sparta side who are full of confidence and have just handed Danish boss Brian Priske a new deal after he guided them to their first title in nine years last season.
In Europe, they defeated Aris narrowly at home and were unlucky to go down to a defeat in Spain against a Real Betis side they dominated for a long time.
And they have won ten of their 12 league games this season and drawn the other two with a weekend romp against Ceske Budejovice the perfect preparation.
How the bookies view it
The draw is 13/5 with Paddy Power.
Recent head to heads
The clubs have met four times and there have been two home wins apiece for both sides.
Players to watch
Serbian hitman Veljko Birmancevic scored in Spain against Real Betis and has scored five goals so far this season. He is 7/2 to score anytime with Paddy Power.
Abdallah Sima should know this well as he used to play for rivals Slavia Prague. The on loan Brighton forward is on good form and grabbed a double on Saturday to make it five games in a row where he's scored. He is 7/2 to score anytime with Boylesports.
Anything else catch the eye?
This is a real test for Rangers, but they can escape from Prague with a hard-earned point. These teams look more evenly matched than the layers would suggest and Rangers have plenty of experience of this type of game.
Clement looks to have changed their mindset and approach and if he can get a tune out of an underachieving squad, there's no reason why Rangers can't take what would be an important point back to Scotland.
There should be goals in this encounter. Sparta are almost averaging three a game in the league on their own after 34 goals in 12 games.
And Rangers know the way to goal too as the four goals they hit against Hibs proved. Over 2.5 goals at a solid 4/5 with William Hill looks a good shout.
This UEFA Europa League match between Sparta Prague and Rangers will be played on Oct 26, 2023 and kick off at 17:45. Check below for our tipsters best Sparta Prague vs Rangers prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.