ARTHUR NUMAN has backed Rangers to complete a Champions League salvage mission in an Ibrox clash he rates as the club's biggest in more than a decade.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side head into the second leg of their qualifying tie with Union Saint-Gilloise battling to overcome a 2-0 deficit after a disastrous defeat in Belgium.

Rangers crashed out at this stage of the competition last term as they lost to Malmo before embarking on their remarkable run to the Europa League final.

And Numan has called on the Ibrox squad to use that big game experience to rise to the occasion at Ibrox and ensure they keep their Champions League dreams alive.

"The 2-0 defeat to Union SG was bitterly disappointing," Numan said. "To be honest, the scoreline could have been worse.

"I don't think we were aggressive enough in the way we defended and we have Jon McLaughlin to thank for making one or two excellent saves.

"But there is nothing that can be done about what happened in Belgium. What the focus must be on is rectifying it for the game at Ibrox on Tuesday evening.

"The main consolation I take from it is that there is no way we can play any worse next midweek than what we witnessed [on Tuesday] night.

"It just wasn't a performance we would associate with one of Giovanni's teams, especially in Europe. We are used to very high standards and we fell well below them against the Belgians.

"We didn't move the ball quickly enough and get into their half often enough. So, losing 2-0 is far from ideal but the tie is still alive.

"We have to remember there are a number of new players and it will take time to gel. That said, there are only 90 minutes to sort it out.

"The players can tap into the experience of last season on the run they had to the Europa League Final.

"They can draw on that and they can also remember the hurt they felt when they were knocked out by Malmo last summer in this tournament.

"This is the biggest we have played in more than a decade. There is the best part of £40million up for grabs and the prestige of being involved in the best club tournament in world football."

A play-off round showdown with Monaco or PSV will await Rangers if they can turn the tie in their favour and emerge victorious next week to end USG's group stage aspirations.

Goals from Teddy Teamu and Dante Vanzeir, as he converted from the spot after a controversial penalty award, have given the Belgians one foot in the next round.



There were few positives to take from a lacklustre showing at Den Dreef but former Ibrox hero Numan has pinpointed his own reasons to be optimistic heading into the return fixture.

"I'm also optimistic because I like the look of Antonio Colak and Malik Tillman," Numan, writing in his column for 5Stars, said. "I think there are early signs that they can hurt Union SG in the next leg.

"Sure, they didn't do enough to really penetrate the opposition but they can do it at Ibrox. Ryan Kent will hopefully be available and he is more than capable of helping to overturn the deficit.

"Also, I do think we were extremely unfortunate to concede the penalty kick for the second goal. It was never a penalty.

"I couldn't believe when Connor Goldson was penalised for a handball when it ricocheted off his arm. It was a shocker and that's where VAR has no place in the game.

"However, Giovanni and the players need to dust themselves down and get a victory at home to Kilmarnock on Saturday. That will lift the spirits.

"It also goes without saying, we'll need the 50,000 Rangers fans behind the team. They can inspire the players to another memorable European victory."