Rangers v Progres Niederkorn: Kenny Miller on Europa surprise, Pedro & the hedge
“It became greater a disbelief of ‘what is just happened?’, as it should not have occurred.”
Former Rangers striker Kenny Miller – now with Partick Thistle – recalls the surprise that engulfed him on four July 2017 as the Ibrox club suffered the worst European result in their history.
A game which began with a 1-zero aggregate lead in opposition to Luxembourg minnows Progres Niederkorn, resulted in removal from the Europa League and supervisor Pedro Caixinha remonstrating with fans in a hedge.
As the sides prepare to satisfy inside the 2nd round of Europa League qualifying on Thursday, Miller recounts one of the lows in his career as Rangers fell at the first hurdle in their first European campaign for five years.
Miller’s calm finish won the first leg at Ibrox 1-0, a deserved however barely irritating victory which set up an unnecessarily testing go back in Luxembourg. That being so, have been there any troubles inside the build-up to the second one leg?
“No, by no means, you are going into the game now not most effective knowing that you’re taking a lead into it, but assured that you could cross on and win the sport,” Miller says.
“So there was not anything, no bad feelings. It changed into much like any game at that degree of the season, wherein in case you do not stand up to the specified degrees speedy, it’s tough to then increase them within the game, mainly while a teams were given a lead now to preserve directly to.”
A goalless first half of supposed Rangers were nevertheless in advance inside the tie, even supposing their overall performance at the night time had been uninspiring. An aim by way of Emmanuel Francoise leveled things on the mixture – however panic became now not approximately to set in but for Caixinha’s gamers.
“You lose goals in games and feature setbacks however it is about bouncing returned,” Miller says. “I don’t forget still wondering ‘we’re in the sport, all we want to do is get a goal’. If we’d scored, they had wanted another two.”
seventy-five mins: 2-zero Progres
But it becomes the hosts who struck the essential subsequent blow. Sebastien Thill curled in an unfastened-kick from the proper which kept away from anyone and crept into the internet to ship the Progres players wild, and their warring parties staring in disbelief.
“There’s absolute confidence that there has been an element of surprise within the crew and on the bench as properly,” Miller says. “But once more, my sole focus as one of the extra skilled gamers became to try to re-awareness the group. We did not move into it complacent due to the fact they got here and made life difficult at Ibrox. We knew what we have been going to be dealing with, so there were no excuses.”
Full time and the aftermath
Miller hit the bar with a clever lob within the dying moments as Rangers desperately chased the goal that would have placed them through on away goals, but soon after came the very last whistle and the embarrassment of being Progres’ first victims in European soccer. They had most effective ever scored once in European opposition earlier than that nighttime.
The Rangers gamers trudged lower back to the dressing room as their opposition celebrated on the pitch to Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’. So turned into the away dressing room a cauldron of rage or an area of bowled over silence?
“From what I can do not forget it changed into extra the latter,” Miller says. “For all the build-up and the dream to gain European soccer once more and communicate of accomplishing the organization levels, it changed into more of disbelief of what had befallen, as it should not have.”