Photo by PAUL ELLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Sparta Prague’s Dominik Holec believes they deserved more from their 2-0 Europa League defeat to Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Rangers, highlighting an inspired Allan McGregor performance in conversation with Irozhlas

Now, we have no problem with Holec singling out his opposite number after a result which saw the Scottish Premiership champions qualify for the Europa League knock-out stages for the third straight season. 

But to say Sparta Prague were ‘the better team’ at Ibrox? We’re not having that. 

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Yes, the visitors had their chances – McGregor made a fine reflex save midway through the first half and denied Sparta a late consolation with an outstanding double-stop at the death – but if Ryan Kent and Joe Aribo had been as clinical as Alfredo Morelos at the other end then Van Bronckhorst’s Ibrox homecoming might have coincided with one of Rangers’ biggest European wins in recent times. 

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“I still believed that we would score a consolation goal and do something about (the deficit),” Holek says.  

“We had a chance or a hint (of a goal) with their goalkeeper (McGregor) holding us back.  

“Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. Maybe a little bit of luck was missing. We pushed them for the last twenty minutes, we were the better team, but we didn’t turn it into a goal, which is a shame. 

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

“Even though we lost, we did our best to reverse the result. But we must recognize the quality of the Rangers,” Holek adds. 

Just five days earlier, Van Bronckhorst was watching on from the Hampden Park stands, his brow furrowed as Rangers were swept aside by Hibernian in the League Cup semi-finals. 

But if they lacked any sort of intensity on that fateful Sunday afternoon – Connor Goldson was not alone in questioning their ‘hunger’ at full-time – then there could be doubt about Rangers’ desire when the 36-time Czech champions came to town.

Last night’s was a performance full of energy, industry and quality.

Ryan Kent and the match-winner Morelos struck fear into the heart of Sparta’s defenders throughout while Glen Kamara, Borna Barisic, Calvin Bassey and co did as much as McGregor to secure a timely clean sheet. 

Photo by PAUL ELLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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