Monday 16 July 2018

Rangers drawn against FK Shkupi in Europa League qualifiers

Gerrard will take his first steps in senior management when Gers host the Macedonian minnows at Ibrox on July 12.

New Rangers manager Steven Gerrard will kick-off his reign against FK Shkupi in the Europa League qualifiers (Jeff Holmes/PA)
New Rangers manager Steven Gerrard will kick-off his reign against FK Shkupi in the Europa League qualifiers (Jeff Holmes/PA)

By Andy Newport, Press Association Sport

Steven Gerrard will kick-off his Rangers reign with an opening Europa League qualifier against FK Shkupi.

The former Liverpool and England skipper will take his first steps in senior management when Gers host the Macedonian minnows at Ibrox on July 12.

Shkupi, based in the capital Skopje, finished fourth in last season’s Macedonian First League as they qualified for Europe for the first time.

The Light Blues will make the return trip to their 6,000-capcity Cair Stadium on July 19 as they begin what they hope are four qualifying rounds on the way to the group stages.

The Light Blues suffered a humiliating defeat to Luxembourg minnows Progres Niederkorn under former boss Pedro Caixinha last year but avoided a repeat clash as they were kept apart as the draw for the first qualifying round was made in Nyon.

Ladbrokes Premiership rivals Hibernian face a trip to the Faroe Islands after they landed NSI Runavik in their Europa League opener, with the first leg set for Easter Road.

Northern Irish outfit Glenavon kick-off their qualifiers against Molde of Norway, Coleraine take on Serbian side Spartak Subotica, while Cliftonville face Danes Nordsjaelland.

Welsh side Connah’s Quay Nomads are to play Shakhtyor Soligorsk of Belarus while Cefn Druids – should they progress past Lithuanians Trakai in their preliminary qualifier – will meet FC Irtysh of Kazakhstan.

Bala Town, who also face a preliminary qualifier against Tre Fiori of San Marino, will be rewarded with a tie against NK Rudar Velenje of Slovenia if they can overcome their first hurdle.

Dundalk – who became the first team from the Republic of Ireland to win a group stage game back in 2016 – will look to take their first step back to that stage when they take on Levadia Tallinn of Estonia, while Derry City face Belarusians Dinamo Minsk and Shamrock Rovers prepare to battle Swedes AIK.

Press Association

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