Kemar Roofe's Rangers swimming pool goal and real explanation for Liege celebration

Like everyone else who witnessed it on Thursday night, either at close quarters or on their TV screen, Scott Arfield experienced a jaw-dropping moment when Kemar Roofe scored his wonder goal in Liege.

Scott Arfield has been in impressive form for Rangers since reclaiming a place in the starting line-up. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Scott Arfield has been in impressive form for Rangers since reclaiming a place in the starting line-up. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Arfield was fortunate enough to be on the pitch when his team-mate conjured up the near 55-yard strike which has been generating viral coverage around the football world ever since.

While Arfield savoured the celebrations which followed, the Rangers midfielder admits he was dumbfounded by the manner in which Roofe went from apparently running down the clock inside his own half on a rain-sodden pitch to lobbing the Standard Liege goalkeeper in such audacious fashion.

Making a splash

“First of all, I’m thinking ‘How does he get away from four people in a swimming pool?’,” said Arfield.

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“Then I saw him fall over as he was striking it. He has obviously put so much power into his shot. I just saw the keeper scrambling. Honestly, it’s an absolutely incredible goal, an incredible bit of ability. That’s what you get when you pay money for these players. They come up with these moments that will forever be remembered.

“It’s the best goal I’ve seen on a pitch when I’ve been involved, possibly the best goal I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. He shapes up to hit it from his own half. I thought it was the wrong body position to hit the corner flag, which was what I expected him to do to waste a bit more time.

“Ten seconds later, we were all celebrating. Amazing. He’s going to get the plaudits at this football club. He’s well on course to win the goal-of-the-season competition in the Europa League and at Rangers. I don’t see anything beating that.

“I’ve not seen Kemar doing anything like that in training but he showed me a goal he scored earlier in his career against Brentford from just inside the opposition half. So he has obviously got that in his locker. But I don’t think anything comes close to his one on Thursday night.”

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Explaining the message

Roofe’s celebration of his goal earned him a booking and prompted an angry reaction from the Standard Liege players and staff at the end of Rangers’ 2-0 win. The English striker made ‘A’ and ‘L’ signs with his hands in front of the home fans, which some interpreted as a reference to his spell in Belgian football with Anderlecht.

But Arfield defended the actions of Roofe who regularly marks his goals with what is actually a message to his daughters Alarnie and Luna.

“That’s what he does in his celebrations,” said Arfield. “That’s the initials of his two kids. It’s nothing to do with anything derogatory to Liege or anything like that. That’s his kids and that’s his celebration.

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“It kicked off at the end. Their assistant manager or a member of their first-team staff came over and said what he had to say to Kemar. As a team, you back each other up. It was a bit of handbags. He got his yellow card. He got his punishment for it. He also got his goal.”

The importance of the win

While Roofe’s moment of magic has hogged the headlines, its wider significance for Rangers was in sealing another impressive performance which earned them a first group stage win away from home in Europe since 2007.

“I think the magnitude of the win has probably been lost a bit in everything surrounding the goal,” added Arfield.

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“It was a terrific victory for us. It was six years since Liege had been beaten at home in Europe. We knew that stat before the game. We thought before the game that we could go and get a result and thankfully we did. We showed what we are capable of mentally and physically - getting across the grass, structure on the ball, structure off the ball, hitting teams on the break. It’s another game that we have managed to get the three points from.

"It’s massively important we back it up against Livingston at Ibrox on Sunday. In the league game after we beat Galatasaray in the play-off round, Ross County at home, we managed to get the result, but the performance was a bit leggy, a bit lethargic. It will be a similar game on Sunday. With no fans, you need to create your own buzz and get yourself going. No matter who the manager picks, I feel as if we’re going to do that. We’re going to hit the ground running. It’s a game we’re looking forward to.”

Arfield on … Arfield

Arfield’s own form has been outstanding since an injury to Joe Aribo allowed him to reclaim a place in Steven Gerrard’s starting line-up after starting the season on the bench.

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"When you get the opportunity to play, once you get the jersey you want to keep it,” he said. “It speaks volumes for the characters and the strength in depth of this squad. If someone misses out, I don’t think the team gets damaged much by the next person coming in.

"You obviously want to play in every game. No matter what stage of your career, you want to play every game. But at no point do you ever spit your dummy out. You get on with it. You take your medicine and show it in the right ways. I’ve played with a few players who do it the wrong way and that’s not in my make-up. And I don’t see many players doing it the wrong way at this football club.”

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