Greg Stewart delighted after Rangers draw Braga in Europa League

Rangers forward Greg Stewart has welcomed the Europa League last-32 draw as an “excellent” outcome after his side were paired with Braga.

The Ladbrokes Premiership club will return to Portugal in February after drawing there against Porto in October and beating the double European champions at Ibrox last month.

Braga – who lost to Porto in the 2011 final – have been impressive in Europe this season, topping their group ahead of Wolves with four wins and two draws after beating both Brondby and Spartak Moscow home and away in the qualifiers.

But they sit seven places behind Porto in ninth spot in the Portuguese league and Stewart is confident Rangers can get to the last 16.

“I think it’s an excellent draw for us,” he said. “Every game is going to be difficult. You look at the big English teams as well and we thought we might get drawn against one of them.

“But it’s a game we feel we can definitely win over two legs.

“Our performances in Europe have been top drawer. We were unlucky not to top the group and were kicking ourselves a bit, but the bigger picture before the group started, getting through was the main objective.

“We have played against a Portuguese team and Porto are probably a Champions League team, so we will be feeling confident.”

Stewart and the rest of the Rangers squad watched the draw while eating their training-ground Christmas dinner, and reactions were varied.

“There was a bit of a mixed bag,” he said. “Some boys wanted the bigger teams because you want to play against them and test yourself.

“But every game is going to be tough. We will take lots of confidence from how we have performed in Europe this season.”

Stewart was speaking as he and his team-mates visited patients at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow and delivered a £10,000 donation from the Rangers Charity Foundation.

“It’s always nice to come and see the kids,” the former Dundee and Birmingham player said. “It’s obviously a tough time of the year for kids to be in hospital, so it’s nice to come and put a smile on their face if you can.

“I have a couple of kids myself. It’s a big day, all the players always look forward to it.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

Serving quality football news from around the globe. No click-bait.