Rangers aim to make club history in Europe

By Liam McLeodBBC Scotland in Malmo
Ally McCoist at Swedbank Stadium
McCoist's side face an uphill battle to qualify in Sweden

Rangers need to create history if they are to keep their Champions League dream alive.

That is not something manager Ally McCoist had in mind so early in his Ibrox reign, but already he has a chance to re-write the record books.

If they do claw back the 1-0 deficit against Malmo, it would be the first time they have done so in a European tie having lost a first leg at Ibrox.

They need an upturn in recent European form too.

Just one victory in 22 is what the current record stands at, with that solitary win being at home to Bursaspor in last season's group stages.

It is easy to look at that as a negative, but 11 of those matches were drawn, keeping European campaigns alive.

The arrears that Rangers find themselves in against the Swedish champions means Walter Smith's successful European tactic of stifling the opposition cannot be deployed - certainly not from the outset.

When the club reached the Uefa Cup final in 2008, goalless draws at home were followed by successful counter-attacking second legs.

But the tables have been turned thanks to Daniel Larsson's first-half strike in Glasgow last week.

Rangers' last away win in Europe was played on that basis, a 2-0 win at Sporting Lisbon en route to Manchester.

Nikica Jelavic and Madjid Bougherra
Rangers will look to the experience of Nikica Jelavic and Madjid Bougherra

They also have to do without their supporters, who will serve their one-match European ban this week.

Midfielder Steven Davis, who has been wearing the captain's armband in the absence of injured skipper David Weir, is confident Rangers can build on Saturday's 2-0 win over St Johnstone.

"It was important to get a good result as soon as possible and we managed to do that," he said.

"It was our best performance so far.

"We created a number of opportunities in the second half against Malmo.

"We just have to be wary because they have players who can hurt you going forward.

"We have to approach the game in the right manner, but I'm confident we can progress."

McCoist would love to have new signing Dorin Goian available for selection and that will be resolved one way or another before kick-off.

Malmo have troubles of their own in Sweden.

A second match this season was abandoned at their shiny new Swedbank Arena on Saturday as Rangers clicked into gear against St Johnstone.

Twelve minutes into their Allsvenskan encounter with Djurgarden, a firework was thrown on to the pitch, sparking chaotic scenes in the stands.

Referee Martin Hansen called the game off with Malmo leading 1-0.

That followed a first-half abandonment in May, when a fan attacked the Helsingborgs goalkeeper after the visitors had scored.

Football violence is an issue of growing concern to the Swedish Football Association.

Malmo are also toiling in their bid to retain their title as they look up from mid-table.

The 1979 European Cup runners-up have also not been beyond the qualification stage since the inception of the Champions League.

However, it is a Malmo side that have already warned Rangers of their capabilities.

They have also lost just once at home this season, to IFK Gothenburg in May, discounting the 3-0 win Helsingborgs were awarded for the abandoned game in the spring.

One thing Rangers know for sure is a draw won't do this time.

It's 14 years since Sweden had a team in the Champions League.

Ahead of this crucial European qualifier, history beckons for both clubs.