Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst believes his team can expect “a very, very hostile atmosphere” when they face Red Star in Belgrade but says mental and tactical discipline can see them through.
The sides meet in Serbia for the second leg of their Europa League knockout tie, with a place in the quarter finals of the competition at stake. Rangers hold a 3-0 lead from the first leg at Ibrox last week in a game where both sides created numerous chances and Red Star showed their attacking threat even though they failed to find the net.
“We saw last week that it was quite an even game but of course we won with a three-goal margin, which of course was a very good result to take with us,” van Bronckhorst said.
“We can expect an opponent who will do everything to overcome the 3-0.
“For us, it starts all over again. We just go into the game preparing the team to get a good result and that’s all we have to do. We’ll work hard to be in the next round after the game.”
In addition to overcoming a Red Star side that’s impressed in the competition so far, Rangers will have to cope with the noise and backing of the fans in the Rajko Mitić stadium, renowned as one of the more intimidating venues in European football.
Van Bronckhorst believes his players have been through enough games to cope with the external pressure, provided they keep their minds on the game plan.
“We know we are going to a place where the atmosphere can be very, very hostile but that’s a thing we have to cope with,” he said.
“We have quite an experienced team and we’ve been in places before that are hostile.
“We have to deal with it, make sure we are mentally and tactically prepared and also make sure you are just concentrating on the game and the eleven other players.
“It will be a nice atmosphere to play in and we have to enjoy that as well.”
While his side have a commanding lead from the match at Ibrox, the Dutchman also believes the team have to put that out of their heads and treat the second leg as a fresh start, and that maintaining a level head will be key even if the hosts do get the first goal.
“You start over again,” van Bronckhorst said. “The game last week has been played and now we play a new game. You have to approach it to have the best result possible tomorrow, you don’t go in knowing you have a 3-0 difference.
“We have to, from the first minute, be solid but be dangerous as well at the right moments in the game.
“There are moments in every game where you maybe go 1-0 up or 1-0 down but just make sure we stick to our tactical game plan and do everything we can to get a positive result after the game.”