One of Rangers' most recent recruits, Michael Ball, is confident that his new side are on course for a lengthy Uefa Cup campaign as the Ibrox club prepare to defend a 3-1 first leg lead away to Dynamo Moscow in tomorrow night's second round.
The England defender, who has been capped once for his country, left Everton for Ibrox in a £6.5m move in August with the prospect of European football one of the main motivating factors in the switch.
At the time Rangers were attempting to qualify for the Champions' League but failure to do so meant they must now make do with the less prestigious Uefa Cup. They have a woeful record in European competitions generally – their interest in any of the continental tournaments has not extended beyond Christmas for the last eight years – but Ball for one is confident that the current campaign can be extended into the new year.
"I think we can go very far," Ball said. "Our squad is very strong and we have got players coming back from injuries. We have got strength in depth so I reckon we can go a lot further."
Scott Wilson was named in an 18-man travelling party even though he has not played a game since August. The centre-back, who has spent time on the sidelines recovering from a knee operation, was needed because Tony Vidmar was granted compassionate leave as his wife is about to give birth.
Michael Mols came through a reserve match against St Mirren on Monday night and also travels even though he has not played a first-team game for a month. Billy Dodds was left behind but Russell Latapy, Peter Lovenkrands and Maurice Ross seem set to be on the bench at the very least. Shota Arveladze had to drop out as he is ineligible, having played for Ajax in a Champions' League qualifier against Celtic.
Dynamo's league form has been poor and with the Russian season coming to an end they are set for a disappointing mid-table finish. But they did record a 3-1 derby victory over CSKA Moscow at the weekend.
It is thought that the Russian international Rolan Gusev, who scored at Ibrox in the first leg, will be watched by a number of British clubs tomorrow night.Reuse content