Connor Goldson says Rangers have to forget about last season’s disappointment in Europe as they prepare to get their campaign under way next week.
Gers face Macedonian side Shkupi in the first round of the Europa League qualifiers, one year on from a shock exit at the hands of Progres Niederkorn of Luxembourg.
That result put Pedro Caixinha’s job under threat early in the season and by October he had been sacked. While Goldson, a new signing under Steven Gerrard, was not part of that team, he admits they have to move on this season.
“All the new players have heard what happened last year and that has been spoken about,” the defender said. “But at the end of the day that’s the past and we can only look forward.
“We have an exciting draw and an exciting first game at home at Ibrox in front of our own fans, so we must be ready, be positive and there’s no point in looking back on last season.
“We are at a new season with new players and a new manager and we look forward to it.”
Rangers are set to hone their preparations for Thursday’s fixture with a friendly against Bury on Friday night, which will be a first outing for Gerrard and five of his new signings at Ibrox.
It is just their second friendly since returning from a 10-day training camp in Spain – they beat the New Saints earlier in the week – and Goldson is confident that, if the team can put into effect everything that has been worked on, they stand a good chance of reaching the Europa League group stages.
He said: “If there wasn’t (any chance of reaching the groups) there would be no point in playing in the qualifiers.
“We start next Thursday against a tough side, but we will be ready and be prepared and I’m sure they won’t look forward to coming to our stadium.
“We have to be ready for that game, but first and foremost we have to concentrate on Friday and put everything into effect on Friday night and that will lead on to Thursday.”
Goldson is set to line up in the heart of defence under Gerrard following the departure of David Bates, while experienced defender Bruno Alves is expected to leave in the coming days after being linked with a move to Parma.
That could see the former Brighton defender partner fellow new signing Nikola Katic at the heart of the defence and, after seeing the Croatian put through his paces in an intense pre-season, Goldson has been impressed.
“We all have to earn the right to play in the first team, but he has looked good,” he said. “He has looked strong and very aggressive.
“He is mobile which is good because the way we want to play requires that and he looks very strong and is good on the ball.
“First and foremost it is about defending and keeping clean sheets.
“I like that he is aggressive, he likes to defend so hopefully if it is us two that is chosen we will do well.”