Owen Hargreaves spellbound by Rangers ‘fairytale’ as Martin Keown confesses he’s a believer in Europa League glory

BT Sport pundits Owen Hargreaves and Martin Keown admit they’re starting to believe Rangers could be on to something special.

Former Bayern Munich and Manchester United star Hargreaves has been spellbound by the continental “fairytale” at Ibrox, while Arsenal legend Keown said “why not?” to Europa League glory.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst ‘s side planted one foot in the quarter-finals on Thursday night as they claimed a 3-0 last 16 first leg victory over Red Star Belgrade.

And it’s got both Hargreaves and Keown taking serious notice.

Hargreaves said: “The fairytale continues.

“Ibrox is one of the best places to play football, the fans are right up for it.

“Virtually everything went their way: three offside goals, penalty save from McGregor. In a way it was almost a perfect performance from Rangers.

Owen Hargreaves on BT Sport

“The game was a lot closer than the scoreline suggested but they’ve been brilliant in this competition.

“The second leg is going to be tough but I think it’s a brilliant start.”

And Keown said: “They’ve got an important cup game at the weekend, that’s what they’ll be looking ahead to, they’re three points behind Celtic in the league so they need to take care of their domestic situation.

“But why not? When you take out Dortmund in the competition and when you play at Ibrox like that the fans will certainly believe.”

James Tavernier set the ball rolling with a first-half penalty after Ryan Kent was felled in the box.

Both pundits agreed on the award and heaped praise on the Rangers captain’s emphatic spot-kick.

Hargreaves said: “I think he (Kent) is smart and he knows exactly what he’s doing, the defender doesn’t really have anywhere to go.

“Kent initiates a bit of the contact but he knows what he’s doing and when you dangle a leg like that the referee is always going to give it.

“But take nothing away from Tavernier, he’s an absolute specialist in these situations. This is as good a penalty as you’re ever going to see, that is inch perfect.

“He makes it look incredibly easy.”

Keown added: “We were watching this in the studio, I didn’t think at the time it was a penalty but when you watch it closely he sort of dangles a foot out, the defender, and that’s dangerous.

“I think he (Kent) loses control of the ball but that doesn’t matter he’s running with it and then the foot comes out. The referee doesn’t give it but then it goes to VAR and he’s forced to award it.”

“It’s almost too good (the penalty), isn’t it? It doesn’t need to be that good. It’s incredible.”

And Hargreaves reckons Van Bronckhorst’s side will have enough firepower to get the job done in next week’s second leg.

He said: “That is a really tough place to go and play but I’m sure they’ll bring some great support with them and I think with a 3-0 advantage, with Kent and Morelos, I think they have more than enough firepower to go and score there.

“But I think it’s going to be a very, very tough game.”

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