In their 65th game of a remarkable campaign, Rangers bounced back from the heartache of losing the Europa League final on penalties to Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville on Wednesday night to deservedly overcome Hearts 2-0 after extra-time and win Scottish football’s oldest tournament for the first time since 2009.
It provided the Ibrox club with an upbeat ending to an emotionally draining week which also saw them pay their final respects to long-serving kitman Jimmy Bell at his funeral on Friday.
“It’s been a very demanding week,” said van Bronckhorst. “We had the build-up to the final in very difficult circumstances.
“Mentally, the loss in Seville was big. We flew back on Thursday and then on Friday we said farewell to Jimmy.
“In the afternoon we trained, then this morning we had the meeting before the game to decide how we wanted to line up and play.
“I told them we had to look forward and move on. That’s what they did today. All the hard work is rewarded with a trophy.
“We had character – we have that in the team. After difficult moments, we rise up and go again.
“That’s important for us as a club. When we have moments when we are down, we always have the support of our fans and we always come back stronger.
“It means a lot. It’s always good to win prizes. I told the players today ‘we can win something and get a reward for all our hard work from the last months’.
“I was happy with the performance. In extra-time, we looked quite strong again. You could feel that the game was going our way.
“I’m really proud we end the season with a trophy which is very positive.
“We now have a big break, rest and then start again in five weeks all over again - another season and new chances to win prizes again."
Van Bronckhorst allowed veteran goalkeeper Allan McGregor to make what seems likely to be his final appearance for the club as a late substitute for Jon McLaughlin. McGregor is out of contract this summer along with defenders Connor Goldson and Leon Balogon and midfielder Steven Davis.
“It was a nice gesture from Jon,” said van Bronckhorst. “He told me that when the result was there, he would give up his place to Allan for the last few minutes.
“We are going to sit down with Allan and see what his future is. But I’m happy for Allan he can lift the trophy at the end of the season.
“You don’t have too many players still playing at the age of 40 like Allan. It’s amazing how he has performed this season.
“The talks will go on now the season has ended, we always do that with older players. We will see what happens.
“I think there will be changes this summer. I’m not sure yet about the players who are out of contract.
“They have the chance to go and take another challenge, but they also want stability for their futures.
“Hopefully in the next weeks we can extend some contracts or we have to look for other players.”