Rangers vs Spartak Moscow - Gerrard: Spartak's tribulations do not affect Rangers’ preparation

Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by PA

Rangers vs Spartak Moscow - Gerrard: Spartak's tribulations do not affect Rangers’ preparation

Steven Gerrard insists Rangers must take no notice of Spartak Moscow’s tribulations ahead of their Europa League clash.

Rangers welcome the crisis-hit Russians to Ibrox on Thursday night seeking to extend their lead at the top of Group G.

Spartak arrived in Glasgow with fitness coach Raul Riancho in temporary charge after sacking manager Massimo Carrera on Monday.

Rangers had a similar situation in their previous Europa League game against Rapid Vienna when Dietmar Kuhbauer was in charge for the first time in the Austrians’ 3-1 defeat at Ibrox.

But Gerrard said: “It’s the same in terms of a change of manager but it’s slightly different because they have promoted from within, whereas with Rapid they brought in a manager from outside.

“But it doesn’t really affect our preparation or our gameplan.

“We’re going into the game with confidence and belief but also with respect that we are playing a big team with Champions League experience.

“They are in a false position in the league.

“We know they would normally be fighting it out at the top, so it does show they are inconsistent.

“But at the same time with the change and the new manager, we’re not going to be naive enough to think there won’t be a reaction and a better performance than what they have been showing of late.”

Scott Arfield misses out for Rangers due to a hamstring strain but Ryan Jack will return after shaking off a calf knock.

Spartak’s problems extend further than caretaker boss Riancho getting to grips with his new job.

Star man Luiz Adriano is missing after being handed a three-match ban for punching an opponent during their failed Champions League bid.

Skipper Denis Glushakov and defender Andrey Yeshchenko were also absent for the 2,500-mile flight to Glasgow after an Instagram row sparked when both liked a post criticising their former boss.

The duo were banished to train with the Russian giants’ youth team last month as punishment but it was expected both would be welcomed back by Riancho following Carrera’s departure.

But the interim manager has decided he does not need either at Ibrox and has opted to leave them and four other regulars behind in order to prepare for a crucial Russian League date with Rubin Kazan.

Riancho said: “We left seven players behind in Moscow to prepare for a very important game with Rubin on Monday.

“Because of the tight schedule we want to give them time to prepare for this important match.

“I’m not only thinking about the match with Rangers. I have to think about the future as well.”

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