Dick Advocaat has demanded Rangers fans give manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst more time to turn the club’s fortunes around, despite a worrying trend of results and performances in recent weeks.
Former Ibrox boss Advocaat made a fresh-faced Van Bronckhorst one of his first signings after he took over from Walter Smith in 1998 and 24 years on he’s now calling for the Gers faithful to rally behind his fellow Dutchman amid calls for him to be sacked.
Rangers have endured a season to forget thus far, exiting the Champions League group stage as the worst-ever team to compete at that level in UEFA’s elite club competition and slipping seven points behind rivals Celtic at the Scottish Premiership summit after losing 2-1 to St Johnstone on Sunday.
A growing injury list hasn’t helped matters, but Advocaat issued his own passionate defence of Van Bronckhorst’s stalled Ibrox managerial career, claiming he will be able to re-group during the World Cup break. He also reminded fans of how the club reached the Europa League Final just six months ago, insisting Van Bronckhorst secured “millions” for the club.
Speaking to the Daily Record, Advocaat said: “Everybody needs to give Gio time. He showed what he’s capable of at Feyenoord, he showed that last year with Rangers. They sold some good players but there’s no reason to be concerned about that.
“I know it myself how it works at a club like Rangers. It’s not just Gio finding that out. I had it, Walter Smith had it, Alex McLeish had it. If you’re not No.1 you have problems. But give him the time. He’s a very young, very good coach. He’s shown how good he was at Feyenoord so don’t worry that one part of the season is not going so well.
“There’s still so many games to come. Last year he did an unbelievable job taking the team to the Europa League Final. He’s brought a lot of money into the club too by reaching Seville, by selling the players like (Calvin) Bassey and (Joe) Aribo, by getting the team to the Champions League.
“He’s had a lot of injuries and he just needs the time to get to the World Cup. Then maybe he can rebuild things with the players coming back into the squad. Only at that point can you judge. Now is not the time.”
Van Bronckhorst has already vowed to battle on as Rangers boss, despite a group of furious fans confronting a number of first-team players in the wake of their latest defeat in Perth. His old manager believes there is no chance he’ll walk away from his role without putting up a fight.
Advocaat stated: “Gio is no quitter, and besides there is no reason to do that. He just needs time.”