MARK WARBURTON has admitted European football is an absolute must for cash-strapped Rangers.
Last week, the Ibrox side announced an injection of £850,000 is urgently required from shareholders in March to keep the club afloat.
A long-running shirt deal feud with Sports Direct is earning the club a mere four pence from every pound spent on merchandise.
The Rangers boss, who is preparing his team for tomorrow’s trip to Dingwall to take on Ross County, conceded: “How important is European football to Rangers next season? It is very important.
“It generates income for the club, as does getting season tickets sold and making sure the punters enjoy coming to Ibrox every week. That’s also very important.
“There are other things above my pay grade that will, hopefully, be resolved, too, in terms of shirts and everything else. These are all areas – which aren’t currently being maximised – that will help the club move forward.
“So, for us, a win before the international break is important. But it won’t be easy. Ross County have not deserved some of the results they have had in their last two or three games.
“It flattered the opposition. They are a good team. Liam Boyce is back up front and they have good pace and width. So, we are well aware of what we face in Dingwall. But we are in good form and we are looking forward to it.”
The European situation for the Ibrox side is clear. Only a disastrous run of form will prevent Celtic from winning their sixth successive Premiership title. If Brendan Rodgers’ men beat Inverness Caley Thistle at Parkhead this afternoon, they will go TWELVE points ahead of the Govan outfit with both teams having played 11 games.
Should Warburton’s side finish second or third at the end of the campaign, they would face a two-legged Europa League qualifier starting on June 29.
If they won the Scottish Cup, they would enter the second qualifying round a fortnight later.
However, immediate thoughts will be on Dingwall tomorrow where the Highland team’s boss Jim McIntyre is plotting to pile the misery on the visitors.
County took a point in a goalless draw at Ibrox in September and McIntyre said: “Our form of late has not been good, but we’ve not been as bad as some people make out.
“We are the home team and we’ll be looking to win this one.”