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Rangers v Spartak Moskva background

Rangers aim to build on their home win last time as Spartak Moskva visit Glasgow with a single point to their name.

Rangers captain James Tavernier after scoring on matchday two
Rangers captain James Tavernier after scoring on matchday two ©Getty Images

It is first against fourth in UEFA Europa League Group G as Rangers, top of the standings with four points from their first two matches, host a Spartak Moskva side with just a single point to their name.

• The Ibrox club are unbeaten in Europe this season, maintaining that run in the group stage with a 2-2 draw at Villarreal and a 3-1 win against Rapid Wien in Glasgow. Spartak were defeated 2-0 in Vienna on opening night and conceded a penalty deep into added time to draw 3-3 at home to Villarreal.

Previous meetings
• There have been no UEFA competition matches between the clubs.

• Rangers have a positive record against Russian opponents and are undefeated in five matches at home, the latest of three victories in Glasgow having come earlier this season with a 1-0 win over FC Ufa in the UEFA Europa League play-offs. They have played in two European finals against Russian clubs, beating Dinamo Moskva in the 1972 European Cup Winners' Cup but losing to Zenit in the 2008 UEFA Cup.

• Spartak's four games against Scottish opposition have all been against Rangers' arch-rivals Celtic and they have failed to win any of them (D2 L2), losing 2-1 on their last visit to Glasgow in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League group stage.

Highlights: Rangers 3-1 Rapid Wien
Highlights: Rangers 3-1 Rapid Wien

Form guide
• Rangers qualified for 2018/19 European competition with a third-placed finish in last season's Scottish Premiership. They are one of four teams to have reached this group stage after beginning their UEFA Europa League journey in the first qualifying round, knocking out Shkupi, Osijek, Maribor and, in the play-offs, Ufa – all without losing a match.

• This is the Gers' debut appearance in a UEFA Europa League group stage, although they reached the last 16 in 2010/11 after crossing over in mid-campaign from the UEFA Champions League.

• Defeated unexpectedly by Progrès Niedercorn of Luxembourg in last season's UEFA Europa League first qualifying round on their return to Europe after a six-year wait, Rangers nevertheless won the home leg of that tie and are undefeated in seven European matches at Ibrox (W5 D2).

• Spartak were unable to defend their Russian Premier League title in 2017/18, finishing third behind Moscow rivals Lokomotiv and CSKA. Their only European qualifying tie this season brought defeat – 2-3 on aggregate against PAOK in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, a result that propelled them into the UEFA Europa League group stage.

• The Muscovites have played UEFA Europa League football in five previous seasons but never in the group stage. They reached the quarter-finals in 2010/11 and the round of 32 last term, when, having crossed over from the UEFA Champions League in mid-campaign, they lost 4-3 on aggregate to Athletic Club. In the other three seasons they fell at the first hurdle in the qualifying phase.

Highlights: Spartak Moskva 3-3 Villarreal
Highlights: Spartak Moskva 3-3 Villarreal

• Spartak won 2-1 in Bilbao in that round of 32 tie, but that is their only European away victory in the last 14 such fixtures (D5 L8). Among the defeats was a record 7-0 loss at Liverpool on matchday six of last season's UEFA Champions League.

Links and trivia 
• Rangers are one of ten clubs in the 2018/19 group stage who have lost UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League finals, the others being Anderlecht, Vidi, Salzburg, Bordeaux, Lazio, Arsenal, Celtic, Sporting CP and, on three occasions, Marseille. Of that group only Anderlecht have lifted the trophy.

• Rangers manager Steven Gerrard played twice for England against Russia in UEFA EURO 2008 qualifiers, winning 3-0 at Wembley but captaining the team to a 2-1 defeat in Moscow that contributed to the Three Lions' qualifying failure.

The coaches
• A Liverpool great with 186 goals in 710 appearances for the Anfield club, most of them as captain, Steven Gerrard launched his managerial career at Glasgow giants Rangers in May 2018. An England international for 14 years, accumulating 114 caps and 21 goals, the dynamic midfielder won the UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League with Liverpool. After an 18-month end-of-career spell with LA Galaxy he returned to coach Liverpool's youth team before the job at Ibrox lured him to Scotland.

• Following the dismissal of Spartak head coach Massimo Carrera on Monday, his assistant Raúl Riancho has been placed in temporary charge. The 58-year-old Spaniard previously worked on the coaching staff of both Dynamo Kyiv and the Ukrainian national side.