MX23RW : Friday, August 6 02:41:07| >> :120:14469:14469:

Steven Gerrard not afraid to dream of Europa League glory

The newly crowned Scottish Premiership winners are well-placed to reach the Europa League quarter-finals.

Steven Gerrard says Rangers will dare to dream of going all the way in the Europa League.

The newly crowned Scottish champions have ambitions of making their mark on the continent and Gerrard is refusing to put a limit on their targets after Thursday's 1-1 last-16 draw with Slavia Prague.

The Czechs dumped Brendan Rodgers' Premier League big guns Leicester out of the competition in the previous round but Gers more than held their own after a sticky start at the Eden Arena.

The result – and Filip Helander's away goal – now puts the Light Blues in a commanding position to progress to the quarter-finals following next Thursday's second leg at Ibrox.

And Gerrard said: "One hundred per cent we'll dream. We've been dreaming since we qualified. There's no harm in dreaming.

"But at the same time you've got to have respect for the opposition.

"You've got to realise the challenge and what's coming up against you.

"This is a side who have gone away to a Premier League team and won comfortably, so in no way can we get carried away.

"It's always nice to dream but we probably have to find our biggest performance of the season at Ibrox to get this done."

Like Gers, Slavia are unbeaten in their domestic title race and lead the Czech First League by 11 points after 22 games.

The Ibrox squad enjoyed their wild weekend of celebrations after being declared Scottish champions for the first time in a decade – but there was an early sickener in Prague as Nicolae Stanciu rifled a stunning opening goal past Allan McGregor.

Helander tapped home to square the match up as the colour returned to Rangers' cheeks.

But McGregor was the real hero of the night with his breathtaking one-handed stop in the final minute, meaning it is Gerrard's team who sit in the driving seat ahead of next week's return.

But the Ibrox boss is taking nothing for granted just yet.

"They are a real good team, a real powerful team," said Gerrard. "They are effective, they play vertical. We knew they weren't going to kill us from a technical point of view. But we knew we would have to match them physically in terms of their running power.

"We managed to do that after the opening stages of the game.

"But in no way in this game over or are we in any way, shape or form favourites.

"I think this tie sits 50-50 and it's a real exciting match to look forward to at Ibrox."

But Gers should have the luxury of increased options after Kemar Roofe returned to the action off the bench in the Czech capital.

However, Gerrard was more cautious on Ryan Jack's chances of featuring next week, saying: "I'd still say Jack is a doubt at this stage. He'd have to have a real positive four or five days coming up to be available.

"It's great to have Kemar back and a cameo will do him the world of good.

"If we can keep him here and get Jacko back as soon we can, with James Tavernier after that, we'll be in real good shape to finish the season as strongly as we can."

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Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor pictured in December 2018
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States29352791
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee16222058
Great BritainGreat Britain16181852
Today's Olympic highlights header

Friday's key events

· Great Britain's women aim to secure their place on the podium as they face India in the bronze medal match (2.30am)
· Netherlands - silver medallists five years ago - and Argentina battle for the gold medal in the women's final (11am)

· The women's gold medal will be decided as Australia and USA go head to head (3.30am)

· Lauren Price will be looking to add to Team GB's success in the ring when she takes on Nouchka Fontijn of Netherlands in the women's middleweight semi-final (6am)

· Tom Daley already has one Olympic gold to his name in Tokyo, and he begins his bid for second in the men's 10m platform. Teammate Noah Williams is also involved in the preliminary round (7am)

· Jason Kenny's reign as sprint king may be over, but Jack Carlin looked strong in his bid to succeed his compatriot. He takes on Harrie Lavreysen in his sprint semi-final (8.10am), with the final taking place later in the day (10.35am)
· The women's madison makes its Olympic debut at the velodrome as Team GB duo Katie Archibald and Laura Kenny look to add another medal to their collections (9.15am)

· Hosts Japan will look to get themselves on the podium as they face Mexico in the men's bronze medal match (10am)
· The women's champions will be crowned as both Sweden and Canada aim to win Olympic gold for the very first time (1pm)

· The men's 5000m final includes Great Britain's Andrew Butchart, but most eyes will be on Ugandan world record holder Joshua Cheptegei (1pm)
· Team GB's Jodie Williams will hope to get on the podium in the women's 400m final, but defending champ Shaunae Miller-Uibo is favourite for gold while Stephenie Ann McPherson should challenge and Allyson Felix is bidding to become the most decorated female track and field athlete of all time (1.35pm)
· Netherlands' Sifan Hassan takes on leg two of her ambitious attempt at a Tokyo treble in a women's 1500m final which also includes Great Britain's Laura Muir and Faith Kipyegon of Kenya (1.50pm)
· A star-studded women's 4x100m relay final will see a Team GB quartet including Dina Asher-Smith look to upset defending champions USA and favourites Jamaica, who boast Elaine Thompson-Herah as she goes for her third gold of the Games (2.30pm)
· Great Britain and Jamaica will also be going for gold in the men's 4x100m relay final, and their medal hopes have been boosted by USA's failure to qualify (2.50pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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