Rangers take on FC Ufa of Russia in the first leg of the Europa League play-off at Ibrox on Thursday night.

Chief Football Writer Matthew Lindsay takes a look at the little-known team the Glasgow club will face.

Where are FC Ufa from?

The Republic of Bashkortosan. That is an area of Russia that was traditionally known as Bashkiria. It is located between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains and is the most populous region of the country with a population of more than four million people. Ufa is its capital and is home to a million residents.

How long have FC Ufa been around?

Less than eight years. They were founded in 2010 after Rustem Khamitov, the president of the Republic of Bashkortosan, proposed a team be formed to represent the city in the Russian Premier League. They came into existence after FC Bashinformsvyaz-Dynamo Ufa, who had only been on the go for a year, folded.

Andrei Kanchelskis, the former Rangers midfielder, was their first manager. He was charged with leading Ufa into the top flight. He only stayed in charge for a year. But they achieved their goal after just three campaigns.

What is their experience of continental competition?

This is the first season Ufa have been involved in Europe. They qualified courtesy of their sixth-place finish in the top flight last season. They have fared rather well. They drew 1-1 with NK Domzale of Slovenia in the second qualifying round, but went through after scoring a late away goal. They then defeated Progres Niederkorn of Luxembourg, the conquerors of Rangers last year, 4-3 in the third round.

So are they any good?

Finishing sixth in the Russian Premier League is no disgrace given the quality of some of their rival clubs. But Rangers will definitely fancy their chances of defeating them and progressing to the group stages of the competition after defeating Maribor so impressively in the last round.

Where do they play?

In the Neftyanik Stadium in Ufa. The multi-purpose all-seated arena was upgraded in 2015, but it has a capacity of just 15,234.

Who is their manager?

Sergei Tomarov. The 36-year-old was only appointed last month. He has limited experience as a footballer and only played at amateur level in the Russian lower leagues. But he has been Ufa assistant manager, reserve team coach and caretaker boss in the past.

Who is their star man?

Sylvester Igboun. The former Nigerian internationalist has been with Ufa for the past three years was their top scorer last season with seven goals in all competitions. He is known as Sly – that is the name on the back of his No 44 shirt – and can operate as either an attacking midfielder or a striker. The 27-year-old is renowned for his pace.

Any other decent players?

Igboun isn't their only internationalist. Jemal Tabidze, the centre-half, has represented his native Georgia and Ionut Nedelcearu and Catalin Carp, who partner him in the heart of the rearguard, have also turned out for Romania and Moldova respectively.

Bojan Jokic will be familiar to many Rangers fans. The left-back has made 90 appearances for Slovenia and played as his country ended Scotland’s hopes of securing a Russia 2018 play-off spot in Ljubljana last year. The former Villarreal and Nottingham Forest man scored the late goal against Domzale that sent his team through.

Elsewhere, Ondrej Vanek, their central midfield, has played eight times for the Czech Republic, Yerkebulan Sedakhmet, their teenage striker, has been capped by Kazakhstan.

Veroljub Salatic, their Swiss holding midfielder, is also vastly experienced having played for Grasshoppers Zurich and Sion in his homeland.

But Rangers should just shade it right?

Remember Progres Niederkorn.