Rangers earned their first win of the 2023/24 season in the first leg of their Champions League third-round play-off with Servette.

James Tavernier and Cyriel Dessers had established a two-goal lead after 15 minutes in a first half where Rangers looked like they could kill the tie. However, after Dessers was penalised for a handball at the other end, Servette got one back through Chris Bedia from the spot and despite playing much of the half with 10 men, managed to see out the remainder of the game at 2-1.

We’ve taken a look through all the data thanks to our partnership with StatsBomb to bring you a unique post-match analysis.

An immediate look at the top-line statistics and flow of the game shows that Rangers were deserving winners, creating enough to add a third on the night.

Analysing the racechart, which logs the timing and quality of chances fashioned, Sam Lammers’ miss just before Bedia’s penalty stands out. Although there was some suspicion of offside the Dutch forward should’ve done better after a fast break. Rangers had created 2.17xG to the hosts’ 0.04 by that point - there was the opportunity to kill the contest before a trip to Geneva.

The frustration for Michael Beale will be that after that spell in the first half, few high-quality chances arrived. Even if pressure was consistent the Servette goal could’ve come under greater pressure.

The match was open when 11-vs-11 with both sides intent on goals. The visitors flooded men forward in attack, leaving plenty of central space exploitable in transition.

Rangers lined up with Todd Cantwell in midfield, the best performer on the night, and Danilo joining Lammers in the pockets behind Dessers. Borna Barisic enjoyed a strong first half which included the second goal’s assist, while Ryan Jack helped create numerical superiority alongside John Souttar and Connor Goldson. As a result, Nico Raskin was handed slightly more attacking freedom.

Servette saw far less of the ball but still demonstrated the direct, fast attacks highlighted pre-match whenever possible. Notice the distinctive 4-2-4 shape with reserved full-backs, high wingers, two strikers and plenty of ground for both central midfielders to cover.

Rangers created 2.11xG discluding their penalty and almost half of that value arrived in two first-half chances - Dessers' 0.53xG goal and Lammers’ 0.63xG miss. Those chances aside, the hosts' shot quality wasn’t brilliant, with plenty of light blue contrasting the darker, more dangerous red depicting two high-value chances referenced.

Dessers' goal looked easy but was the result of a brilliant, team-wide attacking move that earned a back post opportunity.

Rangers Review:

READ MORE: Todd Cantwell's Rangers vs Servette showing busts best position myth

Cantwell drops into the backline to form a three-vs-two, creating a free man in John Souttar which triggers the Servette press and a chain reaction down the pitch, as right midfielder Guillemenot jumps forward.

After outplaying with Ryan Jack, Souttar strides forward and releases Barisic while Rangers loaded the box.

As Barisic crosses the ball Rangers have two No.9s in the box against their opposite centre-backs. Danilo moves to the front post, clearing the room for Dessers to finish at the back.


The sequence of the goal, attached below, demonstrated plenty of the principles of play Beale looks to be developing. Overloads in the first line, moving through the press, playing backwards first to then go forwards through said space and loading the box with numbers.

Conversely, and this too will frustrate Rangers, Servette created next to nothing aside from their penalty - 0.32xG to be precise. Despite the numbers they committed to the attack Rangers were the team in control of this match. With more incision in front of goal the scoreline would’ve better reflected that fact.

Rangers’ pressure was intense and often successful with the game at 11-vs-11. As demonstrated in the below heatmap they often directed their pressing to the sides. The hosts recorded 31 successful pressure regains.

Their counterpressure, attempts to win the ball immediately after surrendering it, was particularly effective. 

Lammers attempted the highest numbers of pressure (20) and counterpressures (17).

The final result last night at Ibrox means there’s more to do in Switzerland. The stats and eye test confirm this tie is more than there to be won for Rangers.