Giovanni van Bronckhorst issues emotional outgoing message to Rangers fans after Ibrox departure

The Dutchman oversaw a sobering Champions League campaign, which included a 7-1 dismantling by Liverpool

Giovanni van Bronckhorst has released an emotional message to the Rangers fanbase for the first time since being sacked by the club last week.

The Dutchman was relieved of his duties by Ibrox officials after just 12 months in charge with the Light Blues sitting nine points behind Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic and having lost all six of their Champions League group matches this season.

The 47-year-old, who signed a three-and-a-half-year deal to replace Steven Gerrard last November, became one of the shortest-serving permanent managers in the club’s history.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst was sacked by Rangers on Monday.

Van Bronckhorst expressed his pride at being granted the opportunity to manage Rangers, particularly given his status as a former player, but revealed there were issues behind the scenes this season which led to his exit.

The message, posted on on his Instagram account, was accompanied by an image from arguably one of his greatest nights as manager at Ibrox - the 3-1 Europa League semi-final win over RB Leipzig.

It read: “The opportunity to manage an institution like Rangers FC is a privilege which very few are afforded. As a former player, I understood the responsibility and magnitude of the task.

“My backroom team and I worked with energy, passion and were driven with a belief that we could achieve amazing things. We treated our roles with respect, optimism and determination. We experienced some incredible highs, esepcially on our European journey to Seville.

“Winning the Scottish Cup for the first time in over a decade and qualifying for the group stage of the Champions League is something I am very proud of. The passion of our support drove us on to achieve those wonderful memories. For that, I am forever grateful to every single one of you who travelled near and far, spent your hard earned money, and never gave up supporting our team.

“This season, like every year at Rangers, the first priority is domestic success. I understand the hurt when wins become draws, and worse, when we experience defeat. That isn’t acceptable at a club of Rangers standing, no one understood that and felt that more than I did. I faced unique challenges and some very difficult circumstances to operate in.

“Rangers FC will always be in my heart and I wish the club all the success for the future. Once a Ranger, always a Ranger.”

Kenny Dalglish was sympathetic towards Van Bronckhorst but believes he made a key recruitment mistake in the summer which can’t be repeated by his successor.

The Celtic and Liverpool icon stated: “It’s never pleasant to see anyone lose their job. I actually think Giovanni was a wee bit unlucky to be removed. However being nine points behind Celtic, he was always going to be under pressure.

Kenny Dalglish had sympathy for axed Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst

“During the next two transfer windows there are bound to be changes to the Rangers squad. Some will go through the process of their contracts running down, others will come to the end of their loan deals, and some will be seen as surplus to requirements. They all have to be replaced with quality and that’s not easy to do.

“The guys who left last summer, such as Calvin Bassey and Joe Aribo weren’t replaced by better footballer. Results suffered and as a result Giovanni lost his job. Lesson, I’m sure, will be learned.”

Bookmakers have suspended trading on the club’s next manager market with Michael Beale’s appointment due to be announced imminently. A MyBettingSites spokesperson said: “It’s been highly anticipated that Michael Beale will become the next Rangers manager and we got a big indication that a move is close as some bookmakers have pulled the plug on taking bets on him to swap QPR for Ibrox.”