By Kevin Phillips

15th Aug, 2021 | 8:00am

Rangers go into Old Firm at 'big disadvantage' to Celtic after development - pundit

Kevin Phillips is worried for Rangers after their Europa League play-off opponents were announced.

The Sunderland legend, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, reacted with the Gers set to play Alashkert next week.

The second leg of the tie will take place in Armenia just three days before the first Old Firm game of the season.

This means Rangers face a 5000 mile round trip before one of their biggest games of the season.

Celtic are also playing away on the same day but face a considerably shorter trip to Holland to face AZ Alkmaar.

Phillips insists this is far from ideal for Rangers as Celtic will go into the famous clash with their tails up.

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“It’s far from ideal,” Phillips told Football Insider correspondent Ben Wild.

“Celtic should have their tails up for that Old Firm so it will be hard for Rangers anyway.

“We know what it does to everyone, not just players, when you travel that far in such a short space of time.

“It doesn’t matter if you are on a private jet or whatever, they will be at a big disadvantage.

“That being said, that’s what we’re in the game for. You get tested.

“If Rangers go out there and win heavily then Rangers could be on the up.

“It all depends on the result but it is certainly far from ideal to travel 2500 miles on a Thursday night then play a huge game on Sunday,”

Rangers and Celtic are looking to qualify for the Europa League group stage.

Both sides have been knocked out of the Champions League in the qualification rounds.

In other news, Revealed: Thomas Henry ‘wants to join Celtic’ in crushing blow to Rangers after bid accepted.