MOTHERWELL manager Graham Alexander argues that supporters of every club in Scotland – from Celtic to Cowdenbeath – should get behind Rangers when they face RB Leipzig in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final at the Red Bull Arena on Thursday night.

The Coventry-born former Scotland full-back played down south until he was 40 and spent another decade in England as a coach but he’s alive to the rivalries which can divide the game in this country.

Yet he insists that every senior club will benefit should Rangers progress to the final in Seville on May 18, which is why he agreed to bring his side’s fixture at Fir Park with Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side forward by 24 hours last weekend.

That has allowed Rangers extra time to rest, recover and prepare for the match in Germany and Alexander believes that another performance to rival their 4-2 victory in Dortmund in the round of 32 would further enhance the reputation of the Premiership.

“I think it’s massive, I really do,” he said. “That was part of our thinking when we spoke to [chief executive] Alan Burrows on Friday morning when their request came through [ to reschedule the fixture] and it was all about improving the coefficient and being better for Scottish football as a whole.

“Obviously, we’re part of that and I believe all of us as clubs have a responsibility to make Scottish football be better, look better and produce better.

“You get respect on an international or European stage by success on the pitch and it reflects on the teams, the country and the league that you are in: it’s only natural.

“Without a doubt, I think it’s really big for our clubs to go and handle themselves really well, try and achieve success and shine a light on how good the Scottish game is.”
Alexander claims that Rangers reaching the final would also make it easier to lure foreign players to Scotland.

“That would definitely be the case,” he said. “We've recruited players from abroad and we talk to them about the SPFL, the opportunity of European football, Motherwell's history of playing European football, playing against teams who've reached European finals.

“It's the whole profile of the game. it's not just us. We highlight what we're about and the picture of what players are coming to join. But the league and the status of it, the amount of coverage the Scottish Premiership gets - that's a big thing for players.

“For instance, the players we've recruited from abroad, they could easily have earned more money down south in League Two, even probably in the National League, than what we pay. But we offer a better chance of playing international football for their counties, or qualifying for European competition so the profile of it is really important.

“Players need to make a living and we understand that. But they also want to achieve things in their careers and I think that's where Scottish football can supersede having more money.”