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Uilleam last won the day on January 9

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  1. A 5th Question, then: "Why don't you go home?"
  2. Lowry, for the goal, primarily.
  3. Souness in today's ST. "It was my brother Bill who introduced me to Ibrox on a European night when I was about ten." No, surely not.... Europa League final could be the greatest night of Rangers players’ lives Rangers’ return from near extinction to the Europa League final is incredible Graeme Souness Sunday May 15 2022, 12.00am, The Sunday Times https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/europa-league-final-could-be-the-greatest-night-of-rangers-players-lives-x3gwt2rd2 It was my brother Bill who introduced me to Ibrox on a European night when I was about ten. Bill is four years older than me and would take me from Edinburgh to Glasgow for the games. Although I grew up in Hearts territory, I was awed by the sheer scale and spectacle of Rangers’ stadium as a boy. I vividly remember going with a Union Jack draped across my shoulders to show my support and enjoy the special atmosphere on those nights under the lights. I was always playing on Saturdays, so midweek games were the only ones I could go to. The recent Europa League semi-final win over RB Leipzig was the greatest night of football I’ve witnessed as a Rangers man since I first went to games six decades ago. I was so proud of them, I thought: “We’re playing like a big European team and deserve to be in the final”. I didn’t think: “This is a team from one of the smaller leagues in European football.” John Lundstram makes it 3-1 in the semi-final against RB Leipzig at Ibrox SNS This is Rangers’ greatest achievement. I know winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup in Barcelona in 1972 was amazing, but football was a far more level playing field then. Today, the money that television has brought into Europe’s big leagues has distorted everything. This achievement also surpasses anything the Rangers teams I managed did in Europe, although we were in the Champions League, or European Cup as it was called then. It was fantastic to watch. Rangers have no right to be in the Europa League final given their resources, but I didn’t see a team that had any inferiority complex or didn’t fancy themselves. They came under pressure midway through the second half of that second leg in the semi-final at Ibrox, when Leipzig got their goal, but rallied and went again. There was so much belief in the team that they could get the job done. In many ways it was more impressive than the earlier win in this tournament against Borussia Dortmund, who did not field their strongest team, perhaps believing: “This is Rangers from the Scottish Premiership, it won’t be too big a problem for us.” They underestimated Rangers big time, but Leipzig turned up with their strongest XI knowing they would get a hell of a game and Rangers were still better than them over the two legs. Logic rarely applies in football, but if you look at a Bundesliga table, they are now playing the weakest of the three German teams they have faced in the final. At the time of writing, Dortmund sit second, Leipzig are fourth and Eintracht Frankfurt are down in 12th. James Tavernier is all smiles after his side confirm their spot in the final in Seville SNS I guarantee that will not be mentioned by Giovanni van Bronckhorst in any team meeting before Wednesday night’s final in Seville, though. I had breakfast with him at the training ground recently. He is an impressive, intelligent man — wise enough to know that the Germans will definitely turn up for the final after beating Barcelona and West Ham United to reach it. The vast majority of people who have been involved at Rangers in the past ten years deserve enormous credit. Reaching the final has not only put Rangers back on the map, the credibility it has given Scottish football cannot be underestimated. It is ten years since Rangers’ administration and liquidation. The treatment they received within Scottish football, being demoted to the bottom division as punishment, was only to be expected because of the parochial attitude up there — and I’m speaking from experience. In ten years Rangers have gone from near extinction to the final of the second most important European competition. Souness in action for Rangers in the 1987-88 season ACTION IMAGES Sadly, this will not be universally accepted in Scotland as a great thing. The same people that were happy to see the demise of Rangers ten years ago will be watching on Wednesday, wanting them to lose. There was great delight in Rangers’ demise, maybe that’s why their fans often sing: “No one likes us, we don’t care”. When Walter Smith led Rangers to the Uefa Cup final in 2008, I never imagined I would see them in another European final in my lifetime. Walter did it with a disciplined and organised team, playing counterattacking football, but I don’t see the same strategy from this team. They play a brand of football that’s composed. They have a plan, everyone knows what they are doing and they carry a threat with real pace and energy. The scoring stats of James Tavernier, the captain, are ridiculous. He has 18 goals this season — a full back should just not get that many. He has a striker’s instinct for reading the game and thinking: “I can get in here” and he has the athleticism to get there. He takes a wonderful set piece, too. What an asset to have. Calvin Bassey has emerged as a real prospect. His run down the left out of defence to create the winner against Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final also stood out from the recent games I’ve watched. John Lundstram took six months to settle in but seems to be flourishing now as an athletic midfielder who can drop into defence when required. Allan McGregor, the veteran goalkeeper, also deserves a mention. He made a fine save against Leipzig at a crucial time. Rangers, like Celtic, never play an easy game. It’s a cup final every week for both of them. It’s not the same for the big clubs abroad, who can roll over teams a lot easier. The way football has evolved with television money, Scotland’s been left behind. But if there was a British league and everyone was starting from zero — Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City — Rangers would be in the top six on a regular basis. In Glasgow, both Celtic and Rangers could fill a 100,000-seat stadium for the major English clubs’ visits. We will see that by the number of Rangers supporters who travel to Seville this week. I can’t be there because it’s my daughter’s wedding, elsewhere in Spain, the same day. My youngest son has to get a television sorted somewhere and I have put that firmly on his doorstep. I can’t have anything to do with it or I’d be consulting a divorce lawyer within 48 hours.
  4. From today's Sunday Times, a short piece on GvB. Speak softly, but carry a big stick, as somebody (no, not Dick Advocaat), once said From the Moluccas islands to Ibrox: inside the mind and motivations of Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst Marcel van der Kraan charts Van Bronckhorst’s rise to Ibrox from the remote Moluccas islands via a plethora of Dutch masters Marcel van der Kraan Sunday May 15 2022, 12.01am, The Sunday Times Football To properly understand Giovanni van Bronckhorst the man and the manager, you must first understand his upbringing and education, and particularly the Moluccan heritage he is so proud of. The Moluccas are an archipelago of islands to the east of Indonesia. With the declaration of a single republic of Indonesia in 1950 to replace the federal state, they attempted to secede. Supported by the Moluccan members of the Netherlands’ special troops, it was defeated by the Indonesian army and the troops were transferred back to the Netherlands along with some refugees of the conflict. Van Bronckhorst, a real family man who is married to his childhood sweetheart Marieke and father of sons Jake and Joshua, has always been a proud Moluccan and has never described himself as Indonesian. Through the stories of his grandma, who died in 2017, the year he won his first league title as a manager, he knows how much the people of the Moluccas have suffered. He is a proud ambassador for them, a minority in the Netherlands, where mum Fransien Sapulette and dad Victor van Bronckhorst raised him in Rotterdam. He has a charity foundation and regularly returns to visit. Despite the political tensions between Indonesia and the Moluccan Islands and people, he has reached out to the capital Jakarta to support his family’s project to educate disadvantaged children there. As a boy, Van Bronckhorst’s mum took him to a small amateur club, LMO, which stands for Linker Maas Oever (Left Bank of the river Maas, which runs through Rotterdam). Everyone from Rotterdam knows that’s the poorer part of the town, but it’s also an area where kids play football on the streets, producing wonderful footballers over the years. It’s also where the famous De Kuip stadium and Feyenoord’s academy is situated, and their scouts soon discovered young Giovanni, inviting him to join the club, which had just started coaching for under-eights. That initiative came from Wim Jansen. Jansen had just retired as a player, most of his career spent playing and training with Johan Cruyff, who also became one of his best friends. Together, they helped Holland to the 1974 World Cup final, giving the world “Total Football”, a super-offensive style played with two wingers, a striker and a No 10, so eight-year-old Giovanni was educated from the youngest possible age in the same style he would later enjoy at Arsenal, Barcelona and with the Dutch national team. Significantly, this quiet and calm Moluccan boy blossomed under managers who carried the same calmness and had excellent man-management skills; Jansen at Feyenoord, Arsène Wenger at Arsenal, Frank Rijkaard at Barcelona. The fiery Dick Advocaat at Rangers was the exception, but then again, it was good, Van Bronckhorst admitted, that he also saw that style of management. He learnt organisational skills from Advocaat and was happy when the former Rangers manager came to his rescue when he went through a bad spell in his first year as Feyenoord manager. Van Bronckhorst learnt one thing in particular from his former manager — “Be tough when you need to be tough” — and used Advocaat’s wise words to win Feyenoord’s first league title for 18 years, making the former academy kid (“he’s one of our own”, sang the Kop at De Kuip) even more popular than he was before. Van Bronckhorst was ruthless when it was required that season. The most popular player was Dirk Kuyt, who had come back from Liverpool, but Van Bronckhorst reckoned Kuyt could not deliver what he wanted and put him on the bench for weeks. That led to an explosive situation, where Kuyt did not hide his frustration and disappointment in the media. Van Bronckhorst stayed cool as ice, knew he had fired Kuyt up and put him back in the side for the final game, which Feyenoord had to win. The outcome? Kuyt scored a hat-trick and the two of them celebrated the title as if nothing had happened. Van Bronckhorst won five trophies in four seasons at Feyenoord and was given a new nickname: Prijzenpakker (trophy grabber). Again, he had proved everyone wrong. In his first season, when Advocaat had to help out, there were doubters. Van Bronckhorst would never be a manager with enough authority, according to the majority of the media. Exactly the same as the critics who said he would never make it in the national team, yet, in 2010 he captained Holland against Spain in the World Cup final in South Africa and played his 106th game for his country. Van Bronckhorst never wanted to be the noisy one, yet gradually climbed to the highest level in the world. Lionel Messi named him in his team of the best players he has played with as left back. Ronaldinho said he saved so much energy for attacking at Barcelona because he had a man behind him he could always rely on. It sums up the character of the Dutchman. Reliable and delivering quality, with a football brain that’s ticking over day and night, fed by some famous coaches. One of them adjusted something in Van Bronckhorst’s style, which maybe gives him that little edge to steer a club like Rangers to a European trophy. Van Bronckhorst was assistant manager at Feyenoord to Ronald Koeman, the man taught by the super-attacking Cruyff and asked to educate a young Pep Guardiola at Barcelona. Koeman told how Cruyff called him into his room and said: “From now on, you have a new room-mate. His name is Pep and he’s from La Masia, our academy. I want you to take care of him.” Guardiola got the gist, loved every detail of Cruyff’s Dutch “Total Football”, and went to the extreme with it once he became a coach, but Koeman, who won 30 trophies in a glittering career, went one step back when he became a manager. He said he loved attacking football, but felt it was wiser to focus a few per cent more on the defence, particularly when the quality is not always Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Manchester City. Van Bronckhorst watched Koeman every day as his assistant, took it all in, saw how cool and analytical his talks with the media were, and it looks now as if that was time well spent. ON TV WEDNESDAY Eintracht Frankfurt v Rangers BT Sport 1, Kick-off 8pm https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/from-the-moluccas-islands-to-ibrox-inside-the-mind-and-motivations-of-rangers-manager-giovanni-van-bronckhorst-bgkvvwb63
  5. I am optimistic that, given the entire backroom staff is Dutch, this will come to pass. Generally, you can't fault them in this regard. If they are good enough..... Advocaat threw BF into the 1st team, and he never looked back. I always recall that Edgar Davids was bossing the Ajax midfield at the age of 16. Yes, Ajax! Yes, 16! OK, he was exceptional, but he wasn't wasting his time playing against Stenhousemuir, or Montrose (or their Dutch equivalents, if such there is). Of course, the players, themselves, have to show that they want it. Carpe diem, as we say down Govan way.
  6. If Lowry is not already the dug's bollox, he soon will be. An elegant payer, who makes it look easy, and who took his goal, well, elegantly.
  7. We'll see how long this moral panic continues, how it pans out, and who it affects. (You wid, but.)
  8. Fairly recently, you will need no reminding, a well-known red topped comic did a tabloid number on a couple of fellows who contributed to a weel kent Rangers' podcast. This organ "outed" them for dodgy social media posts from some years previously. The two resigned from their roles, immediately. However, friends of the podcast, and other concerned citizens, intrigued by the odour of sanctity emanating from the rag, investigated the social media postings and posturings of a number of 'football writers' associated with it. Lo! They uncovered a veritable omnibus of of sexism, homophobia, sectarianism, and the like. Muck rakers muck raked! Much mealy mouthed talk, in print and elsewhere, ensued, but little in the way of public clamour. These writers remain employed, and if I was a betting man, I should hazard a guess that they attended the annual beano, the other night. I should hazard another guess that the 'turn' most probably tailored his script to what he understood to be his audience, or that, maybe, his booking agency put him forward, as an appropriate act, on noting that the gig was for The Scottish 'Football Writers'. I wish Eilidh Barbour well in the Augean task of redding out her profession. I know nothing of Prof. Raymond Boyle, my time at Gilmorehill being too long ago for polite company to mention, but, if one may judge a man by the company he keeps......
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