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How Rangers' dream return to Champions League turned into a nightmare

Rangers became the only Scottish side to suffer six successive group losses, while reaching a record-breaking goal difference.

Rangers recorded an unwanted Champions League group stage record following their 3-1 defeat to Ajax in the swirling rain at Ibrox on Tuesday night.

The result means that with no points and a goal difference of minus 20, the Govan side produced the worst ever performance in a group stage.

They have taken the miserable record away from Dinamo Zagreb, who lost all six games and finished on minus 19 in 2011-12.

Rangers were playing in the bottom tier of Scottish football a decade ago, so their ascent back into European football’s premier competition has been fairly rapid.

But it was an embarrassing end to the club’s first Champions League campaign in 12 years as they claimed the ignominious title of being, statistically, its worst ever team.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side lost all six games, conceding 22 goals in the process. They only scored twice themselves.

STV News takes a look back a campaign to forget – just a few months after Rangers were a penalty shootout away from lifting European silverware in Seville.

Rangers' set an unwanted Champions League record.STV News

Matchday 1 – Ajax 4-0 Rangers

Goal 1 - Edson Alvarez (Campaign total - 1)Craig Foy via SNS Group
Goal 2 - Steven Berghuis (2)Craig Foy via SNS Group
Goal 3 - Mohammed Kudus (3)Craig Foy via SNS Group
Goal 4 - Steven Bergwijn (4)Craig Foy via SNS Group

Matchday 2 – Rangers 0-3 Napoli

Goal 1 - Matteo Politano (5)Craig Foy via SNS Group
Goal 2 - Giacomo Raspadori (6)Craig Foy via SNS Group
Goal 3 - Tanguy Ndombele (7)Craig Foy via SNS Group

Matchday 3 – Liverpool 2-0 Rangers

Goal 1 - Trent Alexander-Arnold (8)
Goal 2 - Mohamed Salah (9)SNS Group

Matchday 4 – Rangers 1-7 Liverpool

Scott Arfield put Rangers 1-0 ahead against Liverpool at Ibrox.Craig Foy via SNS Group
Goal 1 - Roberto Firmino (10)Craig Foy via SNS Group
Goal 2 - Roberto Firmino (11)Craig Foy via SNS Group
Goal 3 - Darwin Nunez (12)Craig Foy via SNS Group
Goal 4 - Mohamed Salah (13)Craig Foy via SNS Group
Goal 5 - Mohamed Salah (14)Alan Harvey via SNS Group
Goal 6 - Mohamed Salah (15)Alan Harvey via SNS Group
Goal 7 - Harvey Elliott (16)Alan Harvey via SNS Group

Matchday 5 – Napoli 3-0 Rangers

Goal 1 - Giovanni Simeone (17)Craig Foy via SNS Group
Goal 2 - Giovanni Simeone (18)Craig Foy via SNS Group
Goal 3 - Leo Ostigard (19)Craig Foy via SNS Group

Matchday 6 – Rangers 0-3 Ajax

Goal 1 - Steven Berghuis (20)Alan Harvey via SNS Group
Goal 2 - Mohammed Kudus (21)Craig Foy via SNS Group
James Tavernier scores a penalty to reduce the deficit.Alan Harvey via SNS Group
Goal 3 - Francisco Conceicao (22)Alan Harvey via SNS Group

‘It’s a big learning experience for us’

Craig Foy via SNS Group

Giovanni van Bronckhorst spoke ruefully of a “very difficult” Champions League campaign after Rangers were left with an unwanted group stage record. 

He said: “It’s disappointing. We’ve had a lot of disappointing experiences in Europe with a lot of big losses.

“It started really well with those big wins against Union and PSV to qualify for the Champions League. But after playing these six games you can see the difference in levels with the teams we competed against.

“It was very difficult for us to get results. It’s always difficult because you know the gap is there but you don’t want to concede as many goals as we have.

“You can see in this campaign that the goals we have conceded have been too much, especially Liverpool at home here.

“Against teams of the highest quality we have struggled in those moments. It’s a big learning experience for us.”