Giovanni van Bronckhorst: Rangers boss urges his side to be like a family support for Scottish Cup final

Giovanni van Bronckhorst: Rangers boss urges his side to be like a family support for Scottish Cup final

Giovanni van Bronckhorst has urged the Rangers “family” to put Wednesday’s Europa League final defeat behind them and be ready for Saturday’s Scottish Cup final against Hearts.

The Gers took Eintracht Frankfurt all the way in Wednesday night’s final in Seville, but lost out 5-4 on penalties after playing 120 minutes in the Spanish heat.

Aaron Ramsey missed the crucial penalty in the shootout and Van Bronckhorst highlighted the need to pick the Welshman and his team-mates up from the disappointment – but the Dutch manager has a lot of confidence that his team will bounce back at Hampden Park on Saturday.

“We all shared the disappointment,” Van Bronckhorst told a pre-match press conference. “Ramsey was very down, we needed to lift him up as we do every player in the squad.

Rangers had to settle for the runners-up medals on Wednesday night

“The fans will welcome him and my team tomorrow. All our focus is on the final and we have to support each other as a family to be ready for the final.

“I have a lot of confidence in my team. We didn’t get the outcome we wanted [on Wednesday] but overall it was a good experience for my team. We have a very important game tomorrow and I have full confidence my team will be ready.”

Barisic out for Rangers, McLaughlin to start in goal

In terms of team news after Wednesday’s disappointment, Rangers will be without Borna Barisic for the Hampden Park final due to injury.

The 29-year-old came off in the final minutes of extra-time in the Europa League final for Kemar Roofe – and Van Bronckhorst revealed the defender is unlikely to play in Saturday’s Glasgow showpiece event.

Rangers' Borna Barisic shakes hands with Rangers' head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst after being substituted during the Europa League final soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Rangers FC at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville, Spain, Wednesday, May 18, 2022.
Rangers’ Borna Barisic shakes hands with Rangers’ head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst

However, all the other players who took part in Wednesday night’s European final in Seville will be available for the clash against Hearts – meaning Ramsey and Roofe, who were only fit enough to play in extra-time, will both be available.

“Borna is not available for tomorrow,” Van Bronckhorst said. “All other players who featured are available for tomorrow. We had a tough game with 120 minutes in difficult heat. We had a good recovery today.

“We use a lot of data and software with our medical department to measure and help players. I think it is a direction every club is going in, particularly with the number of games we have, some of my players played the most games in Europe.”

Rangers goalkeeper John McLaughlin
Rangers goalkeeper John McLaughlin will start on Saturday

Van Bronckhorst also confirmed that back-up goalkeeper John McLaughlin will start the Scottish Cup final after starting all of Rangers’ cup matches en route to the final.

Saturday’s clash at Hampden Park could be regular first-choice goalkeeper Allan McGregor’s final match in Rangers colours, but he will have to settle for a place on the bench.

“I’ve started McLaughlin in the cup campaign this year – Jon has my full confidence,” Van Bronckhorst said. “Allan is our number one and will fully support Jon tomorrow.”

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Following the Europa League final defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt, Rangers vice-chairman John Bennett believes the Rangers players will be ready for the Scottish Cup final against Hearts on Saturday.

Hearts’ Kingsley looking for cup final revenge

Stephen Kingsley will be fuelled by heart-breaking memories of December 2020 as he bids to fire Hearts to a first Scottish Cup triumph in a decade.

The defender had the chance to put his team on the brink of glory in the final against Celtic 17 months ago when he stepped up to take a penalty, after Ryan Christie’s miss had handed the Jambos the initiative in the shootout following a 3-3 draw.

But Kingsley could only watch in agony as Hoops goalkeeper Conor Hazard dived to his right to block his effort and turned the tide back in the Glasgow side’s favour. Craig Wighton then missed Hearts’ next kick before Kristoffer Ajer fired the winner, leaving the Jambos shattered.

Stephen Kingsley
Stephen Kingsley is determined to banish the memories from the December 2020 final

Kingsley – usually such a reliable dead-ball specialist – hopes to banish that anguish by overcoming Rangers in Saturday’s final.

“I think it will play on my mind for the rest of my life, to be honest,” he said, reflecting on his pivotal miss. “It was so frustrating. I felt comfortable, I felt confident but unfortunately it just wasn’t right on the night.

“It was disappointing and it will stick with me but you can’t think about it too much. It’s about looking forward and making sure that if I get the chance again, I do it properly and put it right. It was difficult that it ended that way but it can really spur you on and inspire you to go and put it right the next time you get that opportunity.

“Thankfully we’re in a position now where we’ve got another final on Saturday and hopefully all of us can make an impact and we can win it.”

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