Rangers endured an unhappy return to the Champions League, losing 2-1 away at Malmo on Tuesday evening.
The Gers were playing in Europe’s premier club competition for the first time in a decade and they now face an uphill battle to progress past the third qualifying round.
Malmo shocked their opponents just after half-time, netting two goals within two minutes to put themselves in the driving seat. However, with one of the last kicks of the game, Steven Davis gave his side hope by netting a deflected strike to ensure the game finished 2-1.
Steven Gerrard made seven changes from the side that defeated Livingston on the opening day of the Scottish Premiership season on Saturday, with James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Ryan Kent and Davis the only players keeping their place.
John Lundstram – signed on a free from Sheffield United in the summer – was handed his first start with the likes of Allan McGregor, Scott Arfield and Cedric Itten also drafted in. Star striker Alfredo Morelos, meanwhile, missed out as is he still isolating while Glen Kamara, Kemar Roofe and Leon Balogun were absent due to suspension.
In a first half of few chances Rangers just about edged things with Kent and Arfield going close with efforts.
After the break Malmo improved drastically and by the 49th minute they were 2-0 up. First, Soren Rieks fired home a fierce effort at the back post, before Veljko Birmancevic doubled his side’s advantage with an easy finish after Tavernier made a rare mistake.
Malmo had a shout for a penalty dismissed as Rangers struggled to find a response. Luckily for the away side, they managed to grab a goal back with Davis firing a deflected effort home from outside the box.
The defeat was Gerrard’s first in European qualifying and he will be hoping for an improved display when the Gers welcome Malmo to Ibrox for the return on Tuesday.