BOOS rang out around Ibrox early in the Champions League play-off first leg match between Rangers and PSV Eindhoven tonight when Malik Tillman suddenly flashed up on the giant screens in the corners of the packed stadium.

The young Bayern Munich midfielder performed superbly at times for the Glasgow club last season. Indeed, he was voted PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year by his peers in May.

Yet, the fact the United States internationalist, who moved to the Netherlands on loan earlier this month, decided not to return permanently this summer did not impress previously adoring supporters. They made their feelings known when the cameras homed in on him.

But the 21-year-old, who had a chuckle to himself on the PSV replacements’ bench as he heard the home fans’ reaction to his presence, scored the winner for his old employers against his new club at the same stage of the same competition 12 months ago.

Did his former side, who Michael Beale has attempted to strengthen this summer by bringing in no fewer than nine new faces, have a man with the same sort of quality who could help them record a triumph and take a step closer to the group stage?  

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Step forward Abdallah Sima. The Brighton loanee broke the deadlock with a stunning strike that curled beyond the outstretched PSV goalkeeper Walter Benitez and into the top right corner just before half-time. Malik who?

Beale made just one change to the team which had taken to the field in the second leg of the third qualifying round against Servette in the Stade de Geneve last week; Cyriel Dessers was preferred to Danilo up front.

Danilo, the Brazilian forward who was signed in a £6m transfer from Feyenoord last month, has experience of playing against the visitors and scored against them in an Eredivisie game in their Philips Stadion last term.

He also netted what proved to be the winner in the nervy 2-1 triumph over second tier Morton in the Viaplay Cup on Saturday. Perhaps his howler in Switzerland seven days ago influenced his manager’s selection.

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The 24-year-old had a gilt-edged opportunity to level the match and restore Rangers’ slender advantage overall after being supplied by Jose Cifuentes in front of goal in the first-half. With an empty net beckoning invitingly, he somehow shelled over the crossbar.

Having said that, Dessers had also squandered a late chance in the Servette rematch after coming off the bench. He struck the post when a goal would have killed off the opposition’s hopes of forcing extra-time. His team endured a few anxious moments after that before finally going through.

Dessers was joined in the front line of a 4-3-3 formation by Sima and Todd Cantwell. Could the duo provide the striker with the quality service he needed in the final third or convert themselves?

Ianis Hagi had bemoaned his lack of first team game time after a rare run-out against Morton on Saturday and Beale confessed at his pre-match press conference yesterday that the Romanian playmaker may have to look to pastures new for a regular start.

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Hagi, who was omitted from the Rangers squad altogether, will forever be remembered in Govan for the free-kick he scored in the improbable 3-2 triumph over Braga in a Europa League last 32 match at Ibrox back in 2020. Could the players who were preferred to him conjure up a similar moment of magic?

These are early days for this side. Only time will tell if the new recruits are of a sufficient standard to realise Rangers’ ambitions at home and abroad in the coming months. But there is no settling-in period when you don a light blue jersey. They had, with tens of millions of pounds up for grabs to the winners of this double header, to deliver tonight.

A giant tifo depicting a sinister-looking figure who was flanked by two half-open cut throat razors – presumably The Billy Boys leader Billy Fullerton – was unfurled in the Broomloan Stand before kick-off along with a banner which read: “Surrender Or You’ll Die”.

The welcome did nothing to spook players who had thrashed Sturm Graz of Austria 7-2 on aggregate in the previous round of this competition. PSV quickly showed they were composed on the ball under pressure in the intimidating environment.

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The same could not be said of Sima early on. The rangy Senegalese internationalist is certainly an imposing physical presence on the park. His work rate, too, cannot be faulted. But when he is in possession he can often frustrate.

His first 44 minutes left much to be desired. He was easily blocked by Ibrahim Sangare after getting in a dangerous position just outside the opposition area shortly after play commenced. He passed straight to Ismael Saibari later in the first-half and effectively initiated a PSV attack. His spectacular opener came out of nowhere.

The sell-out crowd inside Ibrox erupted and when the second-half got underway they urged their heroes to get upfield and build upon their lead. It was their rivals, though, who stepped up their efforts. They drew level through Sangare after an hour had elapsed.

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Sima was anonymous. It was no great surprise to anyone in the ground when he was replaced by Rabbi Matondo. The 22-year-old clearly has talent. He took his goal brilliantly. But he has to start exerting far more of an influence on games than is currently the case.

Matondo, a player who has disappointed far more than he has delighted since completing his £3m transfer from Schalke 04 last year, proved to be an inspired substitution. The winger netted his first goal for Rangers when he got on the end of a through ball from Dessers and slotted beyond Benitez with a precise first-time shot. But the lead proved short-lived.

Rangers and their fans travelled to the Netherlands more in hope than expectation this time last year after being held to a 2-2 draw by PSV Eindhoven in the first leg of the Champions League play-off. But they produced an inspired all-round display and won 1-0 thanks to that Tillman goal. Can they do exactly the same thing once again?

They will need to sharpen up in attack and shore up their defence to join Europe’s elite in the tournament proper for the second season running.