Rangers manager Steven Gerrard says his players will treat their Europa League match against Sparta Prague like any other match when the teams meet in the Czech Republic on Thursday.
The match will be played in front of a crowd of schoolchildren, with adult supporters banned after racist chanting at the Letna stadium in a previous game.
Rangers player Glen Kamara was subjected to racist abuse last season when the Ibrox side played Sparta’s city rivals Slavia, while his fellow players were racially abused online after the match.
Slavia’s Ondrej Kudela was subsequently banned for ten games and missed the Euros, while Kamara was disciplined for confronting Kudela in the tunnel after the game. Kemar Roofe served a lengthy ban for a challenge on the Slavia goalkeeper in the same game.
Gerrard revealed that he had spoken to his players about the issues surrounding their trip to Prague but said there was nothing to be concerned about.
“I spoke to the majority of my players in the last couple of days and we spoke about the game.
“Glen and Kemar who were affected in the last game are in a good place, both wanting to come and put in a performance for the team.
“There is no apprehension as far as I am concerned.
“I have had assurances that everything is going to be fine and for me it is all about focusing on the game and preparing the team in the best way we can and hopefully it is going to be a real good spectacle because you have two good teams who both need these points.
“So I predict it is going to be a real good game.”
The Rangers boss, who said playing in front of children would be better than the game being played in an empty stadium, preferred to focus on the task awaiting his player. He hopes they can bounce back from opening day defeat to Lyon and make a mark on the group.
“We are well aware we haven’t got off to the best of starts, losing the first game always adds a little bit of tension and pressure to the second game,” he said. “We take responsibility for that.
“The game plan is to go and try win the game, we need a top performance to take maximum points.
“If we can’t find that performance or result, it is important that we take something away from the game because if not, the group becomes more complicated, there is obviously less points available and it adds even more pressure.
“I wouldn’t say it was must-not-lose, it is not the end of the world but it certainly adds an awful lot of pressure if we don’t take something from the game.”
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