Giovanni van Bronckhorst: Rangers are ready to join 'very elite group'

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst has backed his players to secure a place in Ibrox folklore by beating RB Leipzig on Thursday night.

The Scottish champions must overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit in their Europa League semi-final against the Bundesliga side to reach the showpiece occasion in Seville on May 18.

Rangers have previously appeared in four European finals under three legendary managers – Scot Symon (1961 and 1967), Willie Waddell (1972) and Walter Smith (2008).

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Van Bronckhorst, a Champions League winner as a player with Barcelona, is potentially 90 minutes away from adding his name to that illustrious list but insists it is collective glory which is uppermost in his mind ahead of a momentous night at Ibrox.

"I am not thinking about any personal goals,” he said. “I am thinking about being successful with the club. For me, the club is the most important thing now.

"There are not many times that the team has played in a final in Europe, so hopefully we’ll be joining a very elite group.

"That’s all that matters. We are all here to bring success and bring trophies to this beautiful club. That’s always my main target.

“Of course, you have goals in your career as a player and as a coach. You want to achieve great things and you dream of coaching teams in finals.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst is bidding to become only the fourth Rangers manager to lead the club into a major European final. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

“You have that as a player, you have that as a coach and that gives you the drive to keep going.

“We are one step away from reaching the final so we are getting closer and closer. Our European campaign this year has been great and we want to make sure we extend that to the final.”

It will be an emotive night for Rangers who will hold a minute’s silence before kick-off in tribute to long-serving kitman Jimmy Bell whose sudden death on Tuesday has deeply affected van Bronckhorst and his players. But he has no doubts about their capacity to deal with the unexpected circumstances surrounding the match.

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"The character is amazing in my team and physically I know they are good as well,” he said. “It will be emotional but we will be ready when the whistle goes.”

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