Giovanni van Bronckhorst reflects on Rangers journey back to Champions League and drops Morelos hint

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The Dutchman steered his side to a 3-2 aggregate win over PSV Eindhoven in the play-off round.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst expressed his pride at guiding his Rangers side to their first Champions League group stage appearance for the first time in 12 years.

Following a 2-2 draw against PSV Eindhoven in the first-leg of the play-off at Ibrox last week, the Light Blues ran out 1-0 winners over the Dutch outfit at the Philips Stadion last night, courtesy of Antonio Colak’s tap-in on the hour mark.

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Rangers will now take their place alongside Old Firm rivals Celtic in today’s group phase draw in Istanbul.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst celebrates Rangers' victory against PSV Eindhoven.Giovanni van Bronckhorst celebrates Rangers' victory against PSV Eindhoven.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst celebrates Rangers' victory against PSV Eindhoven.

For Van Bronckhorst, the scale of their achievement provided him with time to reflect on the club’s journey back from the bottom tier of Scottish football after a financial meltdown to now regaining their place at Europe’s top table over the course of a decade.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, he said: “It is a very proud moment. I know what it means for the fans, for the club, to be playing in the highest level in Europe, competing with the best teams.

“I think it is a proud moment for all of us. I have played many games as a player, coached my team Feyenoord in the Champions League and now I have the opportunity to experience it with Rangers, so it is a very proud moment.

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“You know where the club comes from, 10 years ago we were at the lowest point in history and it took really hard work from everyone involved to build the club back again to the level that we are now.

“It is a proud moment for me to thank all the people who gave so much energy and time to build this club back up again.

“Seville was a proud moment for us to compete to try to win the club’s second European trophy in history and we have the same moment to be in the Champions League draw and compete against the best teams in Europe.”

The Dutchman had made the bold pre-match decision to leave talisman Alfredo Morelos out of his squad due to fitness levels and attitude concerns but he confirmed the Colombian striker still played a key part in the club’s revival.

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Van Bronckhorst added: “Morelos qualified for the Champions League as well. I think he is also proud to see his team-mates and club qualify for the biggest competition in the world.

“He is still a Rangers player and I will push him the way I can to get him fit and get the Morelos back we all want.”

Malik Tillman, who set up Colak for the match-winner in the Netherlands, was similarly thrilled to have played his part in helping Rangers secure a lucrative spot among Europe’s elite clubs.

The American told BT Sport: “It feels amazing. Everyone wanted to be in the Champions League and we did it.

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“We worked altogether as a team, tried to score and defend as best as we can, it was very important not to concede a goal. We did the best we could and got the win in the end.

“I can’t wait to play in the Champions League. I’m looking forward to it.

“It was 12 years ago that the club was in the Champions League so I guess everyone is a bit hyped to be back and we will try to do our best and go as far as possible.”

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