The last time Rangers faced Porto was a Champions League clash back in 2005 when Peter Løvenkrands, Dado Pršo and Sotirios Kyrgiakos all added to the scoresheet in a fantastic 3-2 victory in Glasgow.

The return match in Portugal saw Rangers manage to secure a vital point when Ross McCormack scored the equaliser in a 1-1 draw.

Now, Rangers will be hoping to replicate that win as they go up against the Portuguese giants again on Thursday.

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So, what can Rangers do to ensure a chance against Porto?

Pair Filip Helander with Connor Goldson

Central defence is an area that Steven Gerrard seems to experiment with on occasion. In the last three matches, Goldson has been up against Young Boys with Helander, Hamilton with George Edmundson and most recently with Nikola Katic against Hearts.

Katic has become a fan favourite and earned a new deal last week after 41 appearances for the Gers. However, with his style of play, the 22-year-old should stick to domestic football for now.

Going up against Porto, Goldson would be better suited to be paired with Helander – a player who has senior international experience and boasts 64 appearances in three seasons with Italian Serie A club Bologna.

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Helander is more accustomed to Porto’s style of football and played in previous Europa League matches against Feyenoord and Young Boys.

Despite not making much of an impact against Young Boys, he made an impression against Feyenoord and managed to stop a lot of side attacks from the Dutch side. Which is something Rangers will need to be able to do on Thursday.

Having a back four could help Rangers shut down Porto attack

Back in September, Rangers took on Feyenoord with a regimented back four that worked to catch the Dutch side’s attackers offside again and again.

This played a huge part in how they managed to walk away with a 1-0 win and crushed any chance of their opponents getting a goal.

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Feyenoord had a total of 16 shots, and five of them managed to be on target, but the strong Rangers defence managed 19 clearances that night – six of which were headed away – as well as four blocks.

Feyenoord also had seven corners which barely made a dent on Rangers defensive wall. This is what the Glasgow side will be aiming for on Thursday.

Revitalise the team with a different starting XI from the game against Hearts

Rangers’ game against Hearts on Sunday did little to boost their confidence or spirits ahead of Thursday’s match.

Gerrard’s men dropped points at Tynecastle after the 1-1 draw and fell back to second on the table under rivals Celtic, which means it’s more important now than ever to inject some vitality back into the team and make a comeback.

One way Gerrard could do that is by mixing up the starting XI.

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Rangers have fared best in Europe with a 4-3-3 formation, which showed in the result against Feyenoord, so they should stick with the same setup, which was actually the same formation they went with against Hearts.

The difference, however, will lie in the players and squad line up.

If deemed fully fit, Ryan Kent could take his place on the left-wing instead of Oluwaseyi Ojo, and Ryan Jack could start in midfield. Kamara could also start in midfield but on the opposite side, rather than Joe Aribo.

As previously mentioned, Helander would be best paired with Goldson in defence as opposed to Katic.

James Tavernier made two blunders last time out in Europe and is also blamed for the Hearts goal last weekend; however, it would be surprising if the Rangers captain wasn’t kept at right-back.


Predicted line up against Porto: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Helander, Barišić, Jack, Davis, Kamara, Arfield, Kent, Morelos

Subs: Defoe, Aribo, Stewart, Ojo, Halliday, King, Foderingham