By Noel Whelan

6th Aug, 2022 | 3:48pm

Rangers' season could be derailed after unexpected development - pundit

Noel Whelan has insisted a Champions League exit could pump the brakes on Rangers’ season and “hurt momentum” at Ibrox.

The former Leeds and Aberdeen striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted Giovanni van Bronckhorst will be “desperate” to see a reaction from his side in the second leg on Tuesday (9 August).

Rangers lost 2-0 against Royal Union Saint-Gilloise in their Champions League third-round qualifier on Tuesday (2 August).

The Gers host the Belgian side in the return fixture with a tie against Monaco or PSV Eindhoven up for grabs in the play-off round.

Rivals Celtic have already qualified for the Champions League group stage after winning the Scottish Premiership last season – and both sides are off to a winning start in the league this term.

Whelan suggested another comeback is not outside the realms of possibility after Rangers’ famous Europa League run in 2021-22.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

He told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury: “Failing to qualify would be a real blow for them – financially more than anything.

“They could be coming up against Monaco or PSV in the next round.

“It will halt a season and hurt momentum [to be knocked out]. No-one saw this coming.

“It’s a massive test in front of them, and Van Bronckhorst will be desperate to see a reaction from his players.

“An early goal will probably settle the nerves at Ibrox and give the opposition a bit of a scare, but Rangers have got to take the game to them.

“The crowd will be right behind them. We’ve seen them overturn deficits like this before.

“The manager will be asking his players to show him what they’re made of – and this is a perfect chance.”

In other news, Football Insider updates as Rangers register interest in signing League One star.