Chuffed Brian Laudrup has saluted the Rangers heroes who produced a pair of thrilling performances to sink Braga and Celtic.
The Danish wing king has never wavered in his support for his former team but has been left delighted by their tireless efforts over 240 minutes.
The Europa League and Scottish Cup triumphs set Gio van Bronckhorst’s side up for a thrilling finale to the season as they also target catching Celtic in the race for the title.
Laudrup reckons there were a host of factors behind their stirring efforts but namechecked John Lundstram’s uncompromising display in the heart of the Rangers midfield.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: “John Lundstram didn’t wait to make his mark. Less than two minutes had been played at Hampden on Sunday when he made a tremendous tackle on Reo Hatate.
“Bang. It fired the starting gun on an outstanding performance that was surely his most significant yet in a Rangers jersey. Celtic couldn’t cope with Lundstram’s physicality, the way he covered the ground and how he used the ball.
“He aggressively dominated midfield, effectively eliminating space for Tom Rogic to have any influence on the match. More than anything, Lundstram’s sheer desire to win shone through. And it spread to his team-mates from the moment of that first big challenge onwards.
Get all the latest Rangers news sent straight to your Inbox every day by signing up to our newsletter.
We cover every morsel of information regarding your favorite club in the form of articles, videos and podcasts.
The newsletter will arrive every day at 12pm, giving you a round up of the best stories we’ve covered that in the last 24 hours.
To sign up, simply enter your email address into the link here.
And if you aren’t already, make sure you join the conversation over on our Rangers Facebook group and Record Sport Instagram.
“Lundstram is absolutely central to a new approach to Old Firm games by Giovanni van Bronckhorst. After standing off Celtic and being blown away inside 45 minutes at Parkhead in February’s game
“Lundstram wasn’t picked for Rangers are now on the front foot, pressing hard and, on Sunday, gaining rewards.”
Laudrup was delighted for van Bronckhorst and his players who soaked up the adulation from their adoring public at Hampden.
And the 53-year-old believes he spotted a sign that proves the current side are all in on the message being delivered by the Dutchman in the dugout.
He added: “It’s also huge for Van Bronckhorst to be able to say he got the upper hand against Postecoglou in a big match. To turn the tide somewhat. The doubters will be very quiet for the next wee while and rightly so. His tactical approach and substitutions were spot-on.
“Van Bronckhorst had already shown that in Europe, of course. But everyone knows the huge importance of Old Firm success if you are trying to sway public opinion.
“The Dutchman has been criticized in the past for how he uses his squad but he got everything right at Hampden. Joe Aribo didn’t look like he could be a match-winner. He came off, Scott Arfield came on and scored with one Van Bronckhorst picked Fashion Sakala as the final substitution and he played a part in the winning goal.
“Rangers still need to get the Scottish Cup in the bag which won’t be easy against a strong Hearts team but this past week has given the strongest evidence yet that Van Bronckhorst can successfully lead the work that needs to be done in the summer.
“He clearly has the players onside.
“Because the whole squad has dug so deep to keep their season going.
“It looked as though it might fade away when Alfredo Morelos got injured. Instead, numerous individuals have stood up and been counted. From stalwarts such as James Tavernier and Connor Goldson to those who had only had cameo roles.
“Consider the end of Sunday’s game. Rangers finished without Morelos, Lundstram, Aribo, Allan McGregor, Borna Barisic, Kemar Roofe, Aaron Ramsey, Ryan Jack, Filip Helander or Ianis Hagi on the pitch. They had played 240 minutes of high-level football in the space of 68 hours.And they got the job done.
“That speaks of heart. And, to me, it was embodied by Lundstram. He deserves all the praise that will come his way.”