Giovanni van Bronckhorst calls on his Rangers players to seize the opportunity in a game you have to win

New Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst calls on his players to seize the opportunity in a Europa League game to be won against Sparta Prague at Ibrox

  • Giovanni van Bronckhorst is excited about an Ibrox return after playing there
  • Rangers are on four points from as many games – same as Sparta Prague
  • Van Bronckhorst watched as Rangers lost 3-1 to Hibernian on Sunday
  • The Dutchman has promised fans that there will be changes against the Czechs


Giovanni van Bronckhorst enjoys the prospect of his first game as Rangers leader as he challenged his new team to keep their Europa League campaign on track by beating Sparta Prague on Thursday in Ibrox.

The Dutchman, who spent three years as a Rangers player, will experience the admiration of support ahead of the game to be won against the second-placed Czechs – who are tied on four points from as many matches with them ​​- and is hopeful that a positive atmosphere can help get his reign off to a perfect start.

Van Bronckhorst: ‘I am looking forward to the first game back in the stadium and it will of course bring back many memories of my time as a player. Very good memories.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst takes charge of Rangers for the first time on Thursday

Rangers was eliminated on Sunday by Hibernian .  in the semi-final of the Scottish League Cup

Rangers was eliminated on Sunday by Hibernian . in the semi-final of the Scottish League Cup

“I can’t wait to feel the atmosphere in the stadium again, but I’m old enough to separate my emotions into the focus I need to perform with the team.

“There will be mixed feelings before the game, but once the referee’s whistle goes, I’m fully focused on my job, which is to lead my team to victory.

“It’s a big game, a special game in Europe. It’s always great evenings at Ibrox in Europe.

“With the support of the fans in the stadium, we need to create the atmosphere and environment where we can play well and win the game.”

Van Bronckhorst only met his selection for the first time on Tuesday, but he has promised tactical changes.

He said: ‘It’s a very short time – just two days to train with the players. But I think they already feel what I want to change and what it takes to be successful again, not only on the pitch, but also how we behave as a team and how we need to be mentally prepared.

Van Bronckhorst played 117 times between 1998 and 2001 and scored 22 goals for Rangers

Van Bronckhorst played 117 times between 1998 and 2001 and scored 22 goals for Rangers

“You can’t do everything in two days. I need more time. But step by step I am sure that the players will understand how I work and how I want to play.

“I have certain ways of playing against different systems. But tomorrow you will see a team in the system that I like to play.

‘Against Prague it will be a different system than against Hibs [in the 3-1 defeat on Sunday]. You will definitely see some changes.”

Rangers were good defensively last season, but this season it was easier to score.

Van Bronckhorst admits his new team needs to tighten up, saying: “We weren’t happy with the result or the goals conceded, so we need to make sure we are much focused and more compact defensively.

“That’s the main goal tomorrow, defending very well and making sure we keep a clean sheet.”

The final meeting between the teams in Prague was marred when schoolchildren in attendance booed Rangers player Glen Kamara, who had been racially abused by Slavia Prague player Ondrej Kudela in March.

Glen Kamara was booed by schoolchildren in Prague after being racially abused before

Glen Kamara was booed by schoolchildren in Prague after being racially abused before

Asked about any concerns he had about the possibility of further racist incidents against the Czechs, the manager said: “We’ve seen a lot of conditions in the stands.

“Not just the games we’ve played against Prague, but you see in football that it’s definitely something we want to get rid of. But we also know it’s hard to get rid of it.

“It’s still there, but we need to be focused on the game and make sure we perform well on the pitch and fully focused on what we want to do. And that’s a win against Prague.’ Rangers are off to Lyon for their last Europa League game on December 9.

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