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Europa League

Rangers slump to worst European exit

Pedro Caixinha
Pedro Caixinha: apology.

Progres Niederkorn 2 Rangers 0 (agg: 2-1)

Rangers slumped to one of the most embarrassing results in the club’s history when Luxembourg minnows Progres Niederkorn knocked the Ibrox club out of the Europa League first qualifying round.

The Light Blues had gone into the tie at the Stade Josy Barthel leading 1-0 thanks to Kenny Miller’s winner at Ibrox last week but were stunned by two goals in the second half.

Pedro Caixinha’s men fell behind after 66 minutes when Emmanuel Françoise netted and worse followed when Sebastian Thill made it 2-1 on aggregate nine minutes later, his effort only the third European goal in the minnows’ history as they registered their first ever win in Europe.

Josh Windass and Kenny Miller both hit the bar in the closing stages but the hosts held on to stun Rangers on their return to European football after six years in the wilderness.

Question marks will already be hanging over the appointment of Portuguese Caixinha, whose first full season in charge has kicked off in the worst possible fashion.

Apologising to the supporters after the humiliating European exit, the Rangers boss said: “I think this is a once in a lifetime result and that’s football. It’s disappointing and I assume all the responsibility.

“We couldn’t do what we were here to do which was win the game

“We need to face this with all our character, personality and strength. I believe in these players.

“It’s a lesson that we need to learn from and focus on the positives in the future.

“We need to apologise to the fans because their loyalty and support doesn’t deserve this. We need to learn from it and look forward.”

Daily Business Comment: Exit from Europe at the first stage is a blow to Rangers hopes of restoring pride and bolstering the balance sheet.

Coming just days after it settled a long-running battle with Sports Direct on merchandising club products, and revamped the board, it puts chairman Dave King’s plans to rebuild the club’s place among Europe’s elite on hold for another season.

More immediately it will set back the club’s hopes of raising funds to compete in the Scottish Premier League.

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