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Union Saint-Gilloise defender refutes Rangers’ ‘over-confidence’ claims
Christian Burgess, formerly of Peterborough and Portsmouth, insists the Belgian side know what lies ahead at Ibrox.
Union Saint-Gilloise defender Christian Burgess insists there is no over-confidence among his squad after John Lundstram questioned whether they knew what lay in store at Ibrox.
The Rangers midfielder claimed the Belgians’ celebrations were a “touch disrespectful” following their 2-0 first-leg victory in the Champions League third qualifying round.
Lundstram suspects the visitors do not realise how tough a venue Ibrox is, but former Peterborough and Portsmouth defender Burgess feels too much has been made of their reaction in Leuven last week.
“My first game for Union was in the second division and when we won we celebrated like we had won the league already,” the 30-year-old said. “It was a shock for me. That’s just the Belgian culture. Everyone does it.
“I wouldn’t say we are over-confident. It’s nicer to be two up of course, but we understand they will play with a lot of energy, they have something to prove and there is a massive carrot at the end of the stick.
“We are not any more confident than we are ahead of a normal game. We believe in ourselves as a group and hopefully we go out there and show the best of ourselves.”
Manager Karel Geraerts added: “After the win we were happy. When my players win, in training or a game, we are happy. This is our culture, it’s not disrespect.
“We were happy for us and the efforts we made and we celebrate together but the respect we have for Rangers is very big.
“The first game the result was positive but this is another game. We don’t feel we have the advantage. Both teams have the chance to get to the play-off stage.”
Union’s win over Rangers was their first European game since 1964 after they surpassed expectations on their return to the top flight last season.
Despite the freshness of playing away from home in Europe, Geraerts is adamant they will not be overawed.
“It’s a new experience for everybody in this team but a new experience doesn’t mean it will be strange,” he said.
“It is something to discover and when you discover things it is magic.
“As long as you have the mental strength, the physical ability and you are ready to play this game in your mind, this is a big moment to take pleasure on the field in this magical, legendary stadium with this support.
“We need to take positive experience out of this instead of choking.”
Rangers have Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos in contention after both missed the first leg, with boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst set to make late decisions on whether they start.
The Belgian coach said: “You mention some big players and important players. Kent was one of the key players last season with his skill and speed, he can play left or right, so he is an important player. It is good for Rangers that he is there.
“We will prepare something if he is playing but we will play with our qualities and strengths.”