Rangers take on Benfica and Celtic face Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday.
Rangers captain James Tavernier believes his side can gain a victory over Benfica when they meet at Ibrox in the Europa League on Thursday (Rangers 23/20, Draw 5/2, Benfica 23/10 – Europa League Match Betting).
The two teams currently sit locked together on seven points at the top of Group D after they played out an entertaining 3-3 draw in Lisbon earlier this month and a win for either side could see them seal their place in the knockout stages with two games to spare.
Rangers had looked on course to win the reverse clash, as they led 3-1 and were playing against 10-men heading into the final 15 minutes, but late goals from Rafa Silva and Darwin Nunez earned the Portuguese side a share of the spoils.
It was an uncharacteristically poor defensive display from Rangers at the Estadio da Luz, as they have only conceded a total of seven goals in 21 games to date this term, and Tavernier knows they will need to rediscover that resilience on Thursday, although he is confident they will rise to that challenge.
“We relish the big teams and playing in European football,” Tavernier told reporters. “Benfica are one of the favourites to win the competition, but I believe in my team. We have to be better defensively and also create chances.
“This season we have been in really good form and played some of the best football under this group. We have been together for some time now and added real quality.”
Unlike Rangers, Celtic’s chances of reaching the knockout stages appear slim, as Neil Lennon’s side currently sit bottom of Group H after picking up just one point from their opening three games.
The Bhoys will be taking on Sparta Prague in the Czech Republic on Thursday and they will be seeking revenge after losing the reverse meeting 4-1 at Parkhead three weeks ago (Sparta Prague 23/10, Draw 11/4, Celtic 21/20 – Europa League Match Betting).
Indeed, Celtic have only won two of their last eight games across all competitions, with the pressure seemingly starting to mount on Lennon, although the Northern Irishman is solely focused on getting the job done in Prague
“We have to win to stand any chance of qualifying. So that is our sole focus now, going to Prague and trying to win the game,” Lennon said at his pre-match press conference.
“In the first game here, it was probably as disappointing as we have been for a while so it is important that we motivate ourselves to correct that.”