Glasgow Rangers scored four away goals for the second time in only three Europa League qualifying rounds by beating FC Midtjylland on Thursday night.
This proves to the players, fans and to the press that the Gers are a much-improved team from last season.
The Danish side were the favourites to beat Rangers, but a very professional and impressive performance turned the odds in the Ibrox club’s favour.
Rangers were a well-drilled outfit and after a fairly even first half, the Light Blues took the lead just before half time with a well-taken Alfredo Morelos goal.
James Tavernier pinged a wonderful accurate cross right onto the Colombian’s head. He split the two centre-halves to drive an unstoppable header past the keeper for a precious 1-0 half-time lead.
It was a good Rangers start to their European campaign on the road with a 4-0 win in Gibraltar, followed by a disappointing 0-0 in Luxembourg, but the Gers were not expected to beat a strong Midtjylland team 4-2 in Denmark.
Make no mistake, Midtjylland have a lot of good players in their side, but they got their tactics wrong against Rangers. The game was too open and the rampant Glasgow giants took full advantage with their speed and talent.
There were a few players all vying for the man of the match award. As it happens I agree that Jordan Jones was the best. He really arrived as a true Rangers player with his pace, ability and work rate.
It was a top performance from Morelos who timed his run brilliantly for the opener and set up another two and was one of the best players on the park.
Joe Aribo, Ryan Jack, Greg Kamara and Scott Arfield all did remarkably well in midfield, Allan McGregor was his usual assured self, and the back four were all terrific – a great team performance.
Steven Gerrard will no doubt be annoyed to lose two goals quickly when 3-0 up, but delighted with putting the chances away, and the way his side scored the four goals.
Unlike the Progres game, this was an entertaining end-to-end cup tie, and both teams were determined to score goals at every opportunity.
McGregor made a couple of excellent saves before Rangers slowly began to take a bit more control of the game and put their defence under some pressure.
In the second-half Rangers seemed more confident and less wary of the Danes, and boy did it pay off. Jones was fouled in the box, but tried to stay on his feet and beat another man before going down. The Estonian referee said no penalty.
With the Danes pushing forward for an equaliser, Jones picked up the ball inside his own half and raced with the ball before slipping it to Joe Aribo who smashed it into the net – 2-0 to Rangers.
A brilliant effort from Jones took a deflection off a defender and hit the bar and went over to win another corner. Nikola Katic with a fantastic right foot shot to put the Gers 3-0 up from Jones’ corner.
Before Rangers could enjoy being 3-0 up, the hosts scored a scrappy goal, and before too long a good move and shot took the game to 3-2.
Rangers calmed themselves down and started playing more a lot more possession football, then scored the killer goal to make it 4-2 on the night.
Morelos did magnificently to control a difficult ball and play a superb pass to Scott Arfield, who took a clever touch to let him pass the ball into the net for the last goal of the game.
If Rangers go through they will meet the winners of the Legia Warsaw or Greek side Atromitos, who drew the first leg in Poland 0-0.
“We were very close to a perfect performance,” Gerrard told the Gers official website after the game.
“Obviously we have conceded a couple of goals but the idea was to be in a mid block and be aggressive and play as a team and be difficult to play against.
“We stood up to the physical presence and some of the goals we scored were fantastic. So I have nothing but praise for my players.
“This is a difficult opposition, they have good players, very big in profile, you can see their set-piece threat, and they have technicians that can hurt you.
“We did have a bit of a wobble but we have come away from home, scored four goals, had some outstanding individual performances.
“I thought Jon Flanagan for his first start (of the season) was immense. The two centre-backs were fantastic again and Joe Aribo again gets an unbelievable goal.
“Scott Arfield got a lovely little pass finish and if anyone was doubting Big Buff’s (Morelos) commitment to this club, just watch that back for 90 minutes as I thought he was outstanding.”
Gerrard hailed his side’s mental strength after conceding the two goals.
“We never panicked at 3-2,” he said. “We knew we were still in front and we showed great composure to go and get another one and that could be a very important goal.”