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Rangers could start Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos in crucial European tie

Aberdeen v Rangers – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – Pittodrie Stadium
(Image credit: Willie Vass)

Giovanni van Bronckhorst plans to make a late call on whether or not to unleash key duo Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos on Royal Union Saint-Gilloise as the club bid to keep their Champions League dream alive.

Rangers trail the Belgians 2-0 going into the second leg of their third qualifying-round tie, but their hopes of a turnaround could be boosted by the return of their two most influential attackers.

Winger Kent has a chance of being involved after missing the last two games with a knock picked up in the opening league match away to Livingston, while Morelos – Rangers’ record European goal-scorer – scored against Kilmarnock on Saturday as he returned to action as a second-half substitute following almost five months out with a thigh injury.

“Ryan did some parts of the training today so we have to assess him tomorrow to see if he’s fit enough to start or even get minutes,” Van Bronckhorst said at his pre-match media briefing on Monday.

“It’s very positive for me that he was on the pitch today.

“He’s a player who if he’s fit to play, I will have a lot of thinking in my mind. He’s a player who can be the difference tomorrow. It will all depend how his fitness is but he’s in the squad, which is a sign that if he’s fit we want to use him.

“Morelos has been with us a little bit longer training and got his first minutes for the season on Saturday so he’s there to take part in the game. If it’s from the start, we have to assess him tomorrow.

“His presence is there for everyone to see with the reception he got from the crowd on Saturday. We know he is capable of creating chances and scoring goals.

“I’m really happy with Alfredo’s first goal on Saturday. We have a lot of creativity now in the team and that’s needed for tomorrow when you have to break defensive blocks.”

Rangers – who will face PSV Eindhoven or Monaco in the play-off round if they get through – have never previously overturned a two-goal first-leg deficit in a European tie.

However, the Light Blues are heartened by memories of last year’s run to the Europa League final when they recovered from first-leg defeats away to Braga and RB Leipzig.

“Most of our ties last year, the second leg was at home and we had to make up defeats in the knockout stages,” he said.

“It’s something we are familiar with. Of course, you don’t want it (to be in that position).

“But tomorrow is another chance for us to be the team we can be. I know the players will be there together with the fans and we will give everything to make sure we go through.

“It’s very important because we want to stay in the Champions League for the next round and be able to qualify for the group stages.

“First leg wasn’t the result we wanted but we have a home game where we can change all that.

“That’s what we are capable of and also what we want to do. My objective is to still be in the Champions League next week.”

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