Giovanni van Bronckhorst hails Rangers character following Scottish Cup triumph
Giovanni van Bronckhorst hailed his Rangers side for rising from Europa League disappointment to win the Scottish Cup final against Hearts at Hampden Park.
The Light Blues were shattered by their 5-4 penalty shoot-out defeat in the European final by Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville on Wednesday and, on returning to Glasgow, they then attended the funeral of former kitman Jimmy Bell.
Having to get themselves back up for another big game, Van Bronckhorst’s side were taken to extra time again by the Jambos.
However, they dug deep and a thunderbolt from Ryan Jack in the 94th minute before fellow substitute Scott Wright fired in a second took the trophy back to Ibrox for the first time since 2009, winning 2-0.
The Dutchman said: “We had character. At difficult moments we stand up, rise up and go again. That is important for us as a club.
“When we have moments when we are down, we always have the support of our fans and always come back stronger.
“To end this week with a trophy is very good for us, very positive.
“It has been a very demanding week. We had the build-up to the final in very difficult circumstances. Mentally the loss was also big because we lost on penalties.
“We had to fly back, yesterday we said farewell to Jimmy, in the afternoon we trained and this afternoon we had a meeting about the game we wanted to play and the line-up.
“Again I told them it was the chance to win something. We have to look forward and move on and that’s what they did today.
“All the hard work in the last couple of weeks and months was rewarded today with a trophy.”
Goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin continued his run of playing in every Scottish Cup tie, but in the final seconds he gave way to 40-year-old number one Allan McGregor, whose future has been subject to speculation
Van Bronckhorst said: “It was a nice gesture from Jon.
“He said when the result was there that he would give up his place for Allan for the last minutes.
“Happy for Allan as well that he can lift a trophy at the end of the season.
“It is amazing how, at 40, Allan has performed this year.
“The talks will go on once the season has ended, we have to see what will happen in the next week.”
In their third final in four years, and having clinched third place in the cinch Premiership after returning to the top flight, Hearts could not match the Light Blues over 120 minutes.
Gorgie boss Robbie Neilson was keen to accentuate the season as a whole.
He said: “Obviously we are disappointed. We are coming to a cup final and you want to win it.
“No matter how well you do or how the game is, not winning is a huge disappointment.
“So we have to take that on the chin and move forward and try to reflect back and see that it has actually been a very good season for us.
“We have come up from the Championship, we finished third, secured group-stage football in Europe and got to a cup final, we just couldn’t take that final wee step.”