Giovanni van Bronckhorst predicts crucial role for Kemar Roofe in title run-in after late impact as sub against Aberdeen

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst revealed he singled Kemar Roofe out for praise in front of his team-mates after the striker’s precious late winner against Aberdeen at Ibrox.

Kemar Roofe replaces Alfredo Morelos shortly before scoring the winner.  (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Kemar Roofe replaces Alfredo Morelos shortly before scoring the winner. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Roofe scored the only goal of the game just three minutes after coming on as a replacement for Alfredo Morelos to ensure the Scottish champions drew level on points with Celtic at the top of the Premiership table.

It was Roofe’s first league goal for Rangers since December 1 with the Jamaican international having struggled for regular game time under van Bronckhorst.

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But the Dutch coach has no doubts Roofe has a major role to play in the remaining weeks of the season as the Rangers squad is tested by its commitments both domestically and in the Europa League.

“Kemar is very important,” said van Bronckhorst. “In the last months, he has struggled a little bit with some injuries but was still working hard on the training ground to be ready.

“I gave him a compliment in the locker room because it is not easy, especially for the players who haven’t played a lot in recent weeks, to keep training hard and wait for your chance.

“Today his chance came and he made the difference so I am really pleased for him. Not only for him but he represents the players who haven’t played a lot.

“In the coming weeks, when we will also play again in Europe, there are a lot of games to be played and we need to use everyone in that moment.”

Van Bronckhorst was satisfied with the response of his players after a difficult start to the match against a dogged Aberdeen side.

“It was a game with two faces,” he said. “In the first half, Aberdeen gave us a big challenge, they played well, had a lot of duels and it was not easy for us to build and find the right solutions. We were on the ball but not able to pass it forward like we normally do.

“Second half, it was a different game, we had a better tempo like we normally have, we stretched the pitch, we passed better and played forward when we could. We were just waiting for the goal and fortunately the goal gave us the three points that we needed.”

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