Glasgow Rangers are expecting to be facing Kosovo opponents FC Prishtina in their 13,500 seater stadium on Thursday, July 11.
This should be the Gers’ first qualifying round in this season’s Europa League, unless St Joseph’s of Gibraltar pull off a surprise to eliminate Prishtina.
Rangers’ potential opponents meet on June 27 and July 4 to decide which side will be hosting the Ibrox club in the first leg, seven days later.
If the Kosovo side survive the knockout ties to win, it gives the Gers a 4,500-mile long-haul round trip to the Balkan state.
Rangers have four weeks to prepare for the important Europa League matches, which bring decent money into the club and gives the players an enjoyable experience.
Prishtina finished runners-up in the Kosovo Superleague last season to rightfully earn their place in the pre-qualifying first round.
At least the Rangers squad can hire a charter plane to take them direct to the nearest airport, but is not ideal for the loyal fans who follow their team.
Last season Rangers played so many Thursday-Sunday-Thursday games in the early months. It left the team struggling to keep up with Celtic.
Gers boss Steven Gerrard knows their bitter rivals will be a step closer to a historic 10-in-a-row if they win the league again this season.
Do Rangers and Gerrard have to prioritise their main objective in this vital second year in charge? Both competitions are very important to the club.
The Europa League gives you excellent income and deserved prestige, but if you had to choose only one, would the league be the most important?
Rangers fans know they won’t win the Europa League, so a good run in the competition and playing and beating some good teams would suffice.
But winning the title this season must be the top priority to stop Celtic’s nine-in-a-row. A double would be better with two local cups to play for.
Early summer signings have added some quality to Gerrard’s squad and if Rangers continue to make more improvements to the squad, it will all augur well for the season.
You can see the first team improving under Gerrard, but you must have an excellent squad to compete in every competition the side enters.
Top teams have good players to come in when the first picks are not available Gerrard is surely aware of the situation at Rangers and will look to strengthen the side further.