Rangers dedicate Europa League semi-final victory over RB Leipzig to Jimmy Bell as John Lundstram revels in best moment of his career
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Matchwinner John Lundstram and captain James Tavernier dedicated Rangers’ Europa League semi-final win over RB Leipzig to Jimmy Bell on a historic night for the Ibrox club.
Tributes continue to flood in for the long-serving Gers’ kit man who sadly passed away on Tuesday at the age of 69, just three days after watching the Old Firm stalemate from the dugout at Parkhead.
The capacity crowd inside Ibrox fell silent before kick-off on Thursday night as both teams held a minute’s silence in memory of Bell.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side trailed 1-0 following the first leg in Germany last week but they produced another heroic performance in Govan to set up a final showdown against Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville on May 18.
Lundstram, who joined Rangers last summer from Sheffield United, hailed Bell as an infleuntial Gers’ figure and was pleased to mark a memorable occasion by scoring the winning goal.
Speaking to BT Sport, he said: “Words can’t describe how much Jimmy meant to us. He was the bedrock of the club.
“I got on so well with him and I want to dedicate the goal to him as I loved him to bits.
“I can’t put into words what it means to me, but I had a good feeling we would get a result. To go out and do it is crazy.
“We have been through ups and downs this season, but wow - what an achievement to be in a European final at the end of it.
“The lads give everything every time we go out there and we did it again. Now we go to the final and we can do it. Why not?
“That is the best night of my career by a country mile. To get into the Europe League final is unbelievable.
“Leipzig are a phenomenal team and they were always going to put us under pressure in the second half.
“The gameplan changed a bit to keep the zero, but they were gaining momentum.
“I wouldn’t say I was cool for the goal! Thankfully I just anticipated the knockdown and put it in the net.”
Tavernier, who set the ball rolling on a momentous night by opening the scoring and is now the competition’s top scorer this season with seven goals, added: “First and foremost we wanted to do it for Jimmy.
“I’m super proud of the effort all the lads put in and all the staff and all the fans.
“He will be looking down proud - so will Walter Smith on all of us - it’s for them.
“I’m absolutely delighted. We are through to the final. Unbelievable. I’m just speechless. The boys executed the gameplan to a tee.
“We have got into the final for a reason and we will be full of confidence. It’s one game and we will give it everything like we did tonight.
“We want to win it. We are in this competition to win, we are a club that wins trophies and that’s what we want to do.
“We want to make all the fans proud. We will be taking lots over and it will be great scenes.”