Charlie Nicholas claims Rangers have surpassed Celtic heroes as he predicts exactly how Seville epic will play out


Charlie Nicholas has backed Rangers to go all the way and beat Eintracht Frankfurt – but only after extra-time in a nerve-shredding Europa League Final.

The pundit and former Celtic star believes Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side have what it takes to deliver a historic achievement in Seville on Wednesday.

He’s tipped captain James Tavernier, the tournament’s knockout stage top scorer, to deliver once again.

Nicholas reckons both sides will leak goals but insists Rangers have a steely European resolve that will see them to glory.

He wrote in his Scottish Daily Express column: “Eintracht Frankfurt can score goals but they are vulnerable at the back, similar to their opponents.

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“However, Rangers have a mentality in these epic European nights that elevates their performances.

“They also have matchwinners. Ryan Kent, Joe Aribo and Ramsey can do something magical but I’ve got a feeling their key players in Seville will be James Tavernier and Calvin Bassey.

“Bassey’s pace at the back is a massive asset, while Tavernier, above, has shown he can single-handedly change a game.

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“The captain’s scoring record is phenomenal, as is his assists tally. If Tavernier gets the time and space to exert his influence, I can see Rangers edging it.

“The full-back is the top scorer in the Europa League this season and the third highest scorer in Scotland with 18 goals in all competitions.

“Yes, a fair few of them are penalties but even if you take them out of the equation, his goal return is incredible and he is getting better.

“I can see Tavernier being the ultimate hero. He always seems to deliver when it matters.

“My score prediction is 1-1 after 90 minutes and Rangers to win 2-1 in extra-time.”

Nicholas admits he didn’t expect Rangers to hit such heights, especially following the loss of Alfredo Morelos to injury.

But he insists they are on the brink of surpassing the club’s 1972 Cup Winners’ Cup winning side – and have already eclipsed the Celtic side who reached the UEFA Cup Final in 2003.

He added: “If Rangers lift the Europa League trophy tomorrow night in Seville it would surpass their 1972 Cup Winners’ Cup triumph.

“Beating Dynamo Moscow for their first European silverware was some achievement, but given the financial gulf between the current side and Eintracht Frankfurt – not to mention the teams they have knocked out en route to the final – this would be even greater.

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“Sure, it is not the European Cup or the Champions League, but it would be massive for Scottish football if Rangers win the continent’s second most prestigious club tournament.

“Getting this far is already a bigger accomplishment than Celtic’s run to the 2003 UEFA Cup final in Seville because Martin O’Neill’s team was bankrolled with massive sums in wages and transfer fees.

“Giovanni van Bronckhorst hasn’t really spent a lot since replacing Steven Gerrard in the Ibrox hotseat last November, yet he has taken the squad on.

“I expected Rangers’ level to drop when injury ended star striker Alfredo Morelos’ season in March, but it has actually been the opposite.

“It feels like the team has managed to recharge its batteries.”




www.dailyrecord.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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