With new Rangers manager Giovanni vn Bronckhorst making his dugout debut in Scotland, supporters in his Holland homeland also kept a close eye on how the former Feyenoord championship winner would fare just a few days after assuming control of the Scottish champions.
And he didn’t disappoint.
Rangers were emphatic at times in defeating Sparta Prague and securing progress in the Europa League – where they will face a last 32 play-off with one of the Champions League drop-outs, who could include FC Sherriff, Borussia Dortmund or his old club Barcelona.
The win exacted revenge on Prague for a 1-0 win in the Czech Republic marred by a hostile treatment from the home support for Glen Kamara – but while Ibrox crackled on another electric European night, and journalist Jan Vacek said “A hellish atmosphere was expected… but it was nothing that exceeded the limit,” and there were no signs of any fall-out on the pitch or off it once the game was underway.
Czech newspaper Blesk laid the blame for the defeat squarely on defender Filip Panak whose mistake gifted Alfredo Morelos his second with a costly error – but the Czech reporters also highlighted his foibles for the first.
"The main unfortunate player” first “fell asleep” alongside first match goalscorer David Hancko when Morelos struck first and then he “experienced an even worse situation after coming from the cabin.
"He did the thing the player would like to disappear from the field. With 49 minutes played, the visitors broke through on the right after some poor defending. He dealt with the situation constructively, but chose a crazy and risky option.”
That allowed Morelos to head unchallenged for the second and crucial goal which ensured Rangers could not be caught by Sparta, even on head-to-head rankings.
"It's probably the worst thing that can happen on the field. But Pavel Vrba cannot write off Filip Panák. However, he has to be a realist, to know what his options are and to continue working with the players, "said Štěpán Filípek on the iSport.cz show.
Jan Vacek wrote of a “convincing triumph" for Rangers whose “focus primarily on their performance was clear at the beginning. They really stepped on the visibly timid Sparta.”
With Rangers new Dutch dugout team and Peter Bosz leading Lyon to straight qualification from the group, the Netherlands had particular interest in Group A and De Telegraaf noted: “Giovanni van Bronckhorst has had a successful debut as Rangers manager. In the Europa League, Sparta Prague was defeated 2-0. Because Peter Bosz won in the same group with Olympique Lyon on a visit to Brøndby IF (1-3), the Scots are sure to spend the winter in the second tournament in Europe.”
AD in Rotterdam added the comments of one of the city’s famous football sons and quoted the Rangers manager: “It's important to show who we are from the first minute.
"The crowd is our twelfth man and with a sold out Ibrox behind us the atmosphere can be great and I think will help our team."
Roy Makaay also paid tribute to the fans on Instagram posting “What a night” with an image of the Broomloan Stand display.