Rangers suffer humiliating loss to Luxembourg side in Europa League qualifying

Rangers suffered a humiliating defeat in the first round of Europa League qualifying on Tuesday night when they were eliminated by Luxembourgian club Progrès Niederkorn, losing 2-1 on aggregate to the side who finished fourth in their National Division last season.

Rangers led 1-0 from the first leg in Glasgow, but fell behind after 66 minutes at the 8,000-capacity Stade Josy Barthel when the forward Emmanuel Françoise converted the captain Sebastien Thill’s corner.

The Luxembourg international Thill added a free-kick nine minutes later and Progrès resisted a period of late pressure, in which Josh Windass and Kenny Miller both hit the bar, to knock Rangers out and seal the club’s first win with only their second and third goals in European competition.

The result marks a terrible return to European football for Rangers after six years away and a hugely disappointing start to the manager Pedro Caixinha’s first full season in charge of the club.

Caixinha has signed eight new players this summer with Graham Dorrans set to be the ninth when he arrives later this week, but there is little evidence so far that the new arrivals are any better than the team which trudged home last season 39 points behind Celtic.

Having presided over May’s nightmare 5-1 drubbing by Celtic, there are many among the Rangers support who believe his four-month reign is already doomed. Caixinha, though, is refusing to panic and says he will continue with the plans he has put in place for the new season.

The Portuguese coach said: “I’m just disappointed. I assume all the responsibility. We could not do what we were here to do – win the game. What happened to us today is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. That’s part of football of course.

“I’m always a positive guy and never give up. We believe in this process. It is a strong moment we are living in now and we need to face it with all our personality, character and strength. This is a strong lesson we need to learn from.”

On Rangers’ performance, he added: “The corner they scored from came from one silly loss of possession. “After that, we knew we could not commit unnecessary fouls but that’s what we did.

“We need to apologise to our fans as they were showing this support, this loyalty to the club. They do not deserve this. What we need to do now is to keep working, to work harder and keep looking forward.”

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