Philippe Clement has warned Brian Priske there will be no old pals act when the two lock horns in Europa League action on Thursday.
The Rangers boss and his Sparta Prague counterpart were teammates at Club Brugge for two years, lifting the Belgian Cup in 2007.
The pair started the 1-0 win over Standard Liege together and later managed against one another when Clement returned to the club against Dane Priske’s Royal Antwerp.
Both have taken different paths since departing Belgium, with Priske’s side on a 12-game unbeaten run at the start of the Czech league season.
Clement kicked off his tenure at Ibrox with a comfortable 4-0 win over Hibernian on Saturday, but insists his players will have to raise their performance levels against the Fortuna Liga holders.
“I know the coach really well because he is a friend,” Clement said.
“We played together at Brugge and he was a coach also in Antwerp.
“It’s a good football team. It always plays in a 3-4-2-1 structure with good passing between the lines, with a lot of good movement.
“So it will be a very interesting test. I hope to have as many players available that are in a good shape.”
He added: “We are going to need a Rangers team that is on the top of their toes to get a result against Sparta Prague.”
Clement meanwhile faces an anxious wait to discover whether defender Borna Barisic will be fit for the trip to Czechia.
The Croatian limped out of the win against Hibs and replacement Ridvan Yilmaz was not included in Rangers’ Europa League squad list by former boss Michael Beale.
Natural right backs Dujon Sterling and Adam Devine could be drafted in as cover.
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