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Claiming Rangers belong in Europa League is to assume this team are on level of Seville side but there's NO evidence of that

There can’t be a Rangers fan on the planet who hasn’t watched Aaron Ramsey’s penalty for Cardiff against bitter rivals Swansea at the weekend and thought, ‘if only...’

If only the Welshman had shown the same composure in Seville when taking a spot kick in the shoot-out against Eintracht Frankfurt that would result in the heartache that only such a defeat can bring.

Ramsey failed to convert that night in Spain and on Thursday night a team from the same Spanish city will arrive at Ibrox intent on compounding a misery that has been building inexorably since May 18, 2022, when Gio van Bronckhorst’s team came so close. Real Betis might be sitting mid-table in the La Liga and were beaten 5-0 by Barcelona in the Nou Camp at the weekend but with the wily old fox Manuel Pellegrini in the away dugout, they represent a clear and present danger to Michael Beale’s future as Rangers manager.

The jury might be out on Beale but a defeat will see the judge adjusting his black cap if a repeat of the rout in Eindhoven comes to pass in Govan. And it might not even take a hammering. The court of public opinion could be swayed by any kind of defeat on the back of not only those damaging results against PSV and Celtic.

When Rangers lost 5-1 to PSV in the Netherlands, the narrative quickly changed. Before the credits started rolling on the TV broadcast, the likes of Ally McCoist and Alan Hutton were speaking about the Europa League being Rangers’ level rather than in the big boys’ playground of the Champions League might not be a bad thing.

And when you consider what Ajax, Liverpool and Napoli did to them last year, there’s more than a degree of truth in the latter assertion. But to claim that the Europa League is where Rangers belong, is