By Ronnie Charters
The Dutch port city of Rotterdam is the next stop for Rangers on their Europa League adventure.
Walking through the streets, it doesn’t feel as if there’s a game on.
Usually by now on an away European trip, Scottish supporters have created a kaleidoscope of colour and noise, however Rangers’ fans have camped out in Amsterdam ahead of this match, before getting the train to Rotterdam at some point today.
The stunning medieval architecture and maritime setting of this great city may be an unfamiliar surrounding for Rangers as they square off against a familiar face.
Former Ibrox boss Dick Advocaat is braced for a blockbuster reunion with his old club after taking the reigns at Feyenoord following Jaap Stam’s departure.
The man who led Rangers to the treble in 1999 is now tasked with halting his old club’s progression to the knockout stages.
In his pre-match media conference, Advocaat was full of praise for the work Steven Gerrard has done as Rangers manager, saying many within Dutch football underestimated the quality of Scottish football in the past, but not now.
Advocaat did have a warning for his former club, though – don’t expect to see the same Feyenoord who were beaten at Ibrox.
But Rangers fans shouldn’t be worried. If there’s been one constant in their side’s European campaign this season it has been solid performances.
Having sat in the media gantry in the Estadio Dragao and watched Rangers pass Porto off the park before coming away with a well-earned point (which should have been three), the European pedigree Steven Gerrard has instilled at Ibrox was clear to see.
A solid defence, compact midfield and a dangerous threat up front in Alfredo Morelos have created a winning formula, one which now sees the Gers second in Group G and closing in on the last 32.
Rangers merely have to better Porto’s result against Young Boys this evening and they will be guaranteed European football after Christmas for the first time in a decade.
In Gerrard’s favour is the fact that, when you look at the evidence, Feyenoord aren’t that great a side. At Ibrox a Sheyi Ojo strike was the difference in a 1-0 win and the gap should have been greater. But we have to wait and see what the Advocaat effect will be.
The Dutch side seem to be a different animal at home, unbeaten in the Europa League at the Feyenoord Stadium after a 2-0 win over Porto and a 1-1 draw with Young Boys.
Gerrard is expecting a raucous atmosphere. One of the main themes of his pre-match media conference was needing his players to show no fear and stand up and be counted.
But going on past records, Gerrard has nothing to worry about.
It’s fair to say Rangers turn up on these European nights. If not for two moments of madness from James Tavernier against Young Boys in Bern, they would still be unbeaten in Europe this season.
Confidence is high on the blue side of Glasgow. Sunday’s 3-1 win over Hamilton will have blown away any cobwebs which may have lingered over the international break and Gerrard’s men should be ready to go.
Already this Europa League campaign has brought with it great memories for the Ibrox faithful – and if things go right on the pitch tonight they could have plenty more to cheer about for many months to come.