Rangers players are motivated by pain of Europa League exit, says Niko Kranjcar

Niko Kranjcar
Rangers start their Premiership campaign away to Motherwell on 6 August

Niko Kranjcar says Rangers will use the pain of their shock European exit at the hands of Progres Niederkorn as motivation for the season ahead.

The Ibrox side lost 3-1 on aggregate to the Luxembourg minnows in the first round of Europa League qualifying.

"Unfortunately the European result happened," Kranjcar told Rangers' website.

"It's still there deep down emotionally in us, and we are ready to go out and prove some people wrong."

And the Croat added: "It was a really difficult time for all of us as none of us believed we would be allowed to lose that game.

"We want to start getting it right and the only way we can start getting it right is by winning three points in the league, and obviously to try and win in the cup games too."

Niko Kranjcar
Rangers beat Progres Niederkorn 1-0 at Ibrox but lost 2-0 in Luxembourg

Kranjcar, 32, scored an excellent second-half free-kick to earn Pedro Caixinha's side a 1-1 friendly draw with Marseille at Ibrox on Saturday.

And he was encouraged by how the team performed against the side that finished fifth in the French top flight last season.

"It was a really good workout," the former Tottenham and Portsmouth midfielder added.

"Obviously we didn't have the ball as much as we would perhaps have in the league games, but we were really organised and it felt like we were in control for the majority of the game and didn't allow them to get between the lines or into spaces.

"We were positive and dangerous in possession as well, and I think the draw was a fair and positive result for both teams.

"The free-kick was in a nice area and once I had hit it I was happy with the way it went in. It's something I have been working on all my life and have taken them for most of the clubs I have played for."

Kranjcar joined Rangers in the summer of 2016 but picked up a serious knee injury that kept him out for most of the campaign.

He is delighted to be returning to full fitness ahead of Rangers' Premiership opener away to Motherwell on 6 August.

"The role has been different," he added. "I have played off the striker, off two strikers and off the left today. First and foremost, I am happy I am back on the pitch after being injured last season.

"I'll just take it game by game and try to enjoy it as much as I can. The whole team is improving too."

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