Johansson in confident mood ahead of Rangers' trip to Luxembourg

03 July 2017

Rangers coach Jonatan Johansson believes they will be better off for getting their tense Europa League opener out of the way.

Kenny Miller's first-half strike was all Rangers had to show following the first European match at Ibrox for six years as Progres Niederkorn kept themselves in the tie ahead of Tuesday's second leg.

But Johansson always suspected the occasion would be difficult as Pedro Caixinha handed out five debut, to Ryan Jack, Fabio Cardoso, Dalcio, Alfredo Morelos and Daniel Candeias.

And he feels there were plenty of signs that they can finish the job off in Luxembourg after their 1-0 first-leg win in the first qualifying round.

Speaking at Glasgow Airport, Johansson said: "The first game was always going to be a little bit tense, with the crowd and everything else, it was a fantastic occasion at Ibrox.

"For some of the players it was their first time together and their first time at Ibrox, so it was always going to be tense.

"I don't think it's going to be easy away from home, it will be a tough game, we are not underestimating the task in any way. But I also feel very confident.

"It's good to play together and it will definitely have helped the guys for this game."

Many Rangers fans were expecting more goals but Johansson was more realistic.

"We had them watched many times and we knew it was going to be hard," the former Rangers and Finland striker said. "They are very well organised, they fight hard. It was the biggest game in their history so we knew it was going to be tough. There are no easy games in Europe.

"We have been very positive, there were a lot of positives to take out of the game. We had a meeting and we all agreed that we are going in the right direction.

"We played well, especially in the first half. We didn't get the second goal but I am very confident we will go there and play well and score and go through.

"We looked very much a team, very much a unit, after only two or three weeks together with the guys. The manager's ideas were coming through in the game. What we were trying to do is clear."

Rangers travelled without Barrie McKay, who is in their Europa League squad but has been training with the under-20s amid reports linking Nottingham Forest and Cardiff with potential moves for the winger, who has a year left on his contract.

Mexican signings Carlos Pena and Eduardo Herrera were in the party after failing to make the bench for the first leg.

"They have just arrived so they are still getting to full fitness but they are in the squad and available if chosen," Johansson said.

Meanwhile, Johansson brushed off questions over the progress of Rangers' attempts to sign Graham Dorrans after Norwich reportedly accepted a £1.5million offer for the Scotland midfielder.

"I don't know, you will have to ask the manager about that," he said.

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