Every word of Gio van Bronckhorst’s Rangers press conference as Aaron Ramsey decision made for Annan plastic pitch

It’s a break from the intensity of the league title battle for Gio van Bronckhorst on Saturday.

The Premiership race is set to go all the way this season as Rangers and Celtic fight it out for top spot.

But it’s all about the Scottish Cup this weekend as the Dutchman looks to bring the famous old trophy to Ibrox for the first time in over a decade.

The Scottish champions go into the clash with Annan as heavy favorites but in front of 2500 at Galabank the minnows will hope to pull off a shock result.

It could see the Rangers squad rotated, with the Rangers boss put on the spot about decisions over Aaron Ramsey.

The club are also facing a couple of injury doubts with question marks Ryan Jack and Leon Balogun, and have added to their academy squad with the signing of Kevin Ciubotaru.

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Here is every word from Van Bronckhorst’s press conference ahead of the clash with the League Two side.

Every word of Gio van Bronckhorst’s press conference

How important is it for Rangers to get back to winning the Scottish Cup?

I think so. We were champions last year but we want to compete for every prize and competition we’re in.

For the Scottish Cup this year, we want to be winning the cup, that’s our aim, that’s our goal and that’s what we want to achieve.

Do you have concerns about rotating the squad?

I have a big squad, I think it’s the biggest squad I’ve had from when I joined the club with so many players available.

We had a good transfer window with raising up our level, squad-wise.

For me, it’s just a case of keeping on going, keep playing the way we want to play although you will see changes tomorrow.

Our way of playing will be the same and our intentions so that won’t change and it’s also good for me to give other players minutes.

Is there an injury update on Leon Balogun, Ryan Jack and Filip Helander?

Filip is already training for weeks now, he has around 20 sessions with the team so I think we have him on a level where he can start games so he will start tomorrow as well.

I’m really happy for Filip that he can leave his injury and the time he was off behind him.

Leon had a scan which was very positive so the injury isn’t bad so hopefully he can return soon to join the team in training and I think Ryan will be available for training this weekend.

For him also his ankle is recovering well and should be involved in the game next week.

Annan’s stadium holds 2500 fans, will it be a big jump going to Dortmund next week?

It’s different than we are used to but also the circumstances we have to deal with but it’s still a pitch, still 11 against 11 and one ball so that’s no different.

For me, it doesn’t matter if you play in a full stadium of 50,000 or 2,500 in a small stadium. We want to go to the next round and we have to be focused and respect the opponent we are facing and make sure we get a good performance.

Is Aaron Ramsey fit enough to start?

Scott Arfield of Rangers is replaced by Aaron Ramsey of Rangers as he makes his debut

Yes, I will start tomorrow. Aaron has been doing well, he’s had more team sessions in training.

He also had some minutes against Hibs so he’s getting better and fresher and the rhythm is coming back so he will be starting as well tomorrow.

Does the plastic pitch impact on squad selection?

No, everyone in the squad hasn’t told me they don’t want to play on artificial grass so we know the surface we are playing on tomorrow.

I think, this time of year, it’s maybe better to play on artificial grass than a really bad pitch due to circumstances weather-wise. I think we can play our normal game, of course, it’s different than grass but I think we should be ok.

Will younger players get a chance against Annan?

We are traveling with a big squad. We want to use the players who didn’t play as much lately.

We have some players coming back from injury but the youngsters will travel as well. Hopefully, there is room for them to feature in the game.

With the league so close, does that make the case for VAR?

I’m pro-VAR and I think it will make it easier for referees because you have an extra pair of eyes and can watch back important moments of the game. Hopefully, it will be next season.

This season it’s not there. We have to accept that and accept every decision the referees are making so in that way it is the same for all the teams.

There is no difference in stadiums or where you travel so we just have to deal with it.

Ianis Hagi is likely to miss the start of next season after comments from the Romania manager?

Well, it’s a cruciate ligament.

I’ve had the injury as well and it’s between six and nine months so if you count it’s likely he will miss the start of the season. It’s not difficult maths to do.

Hopefully, his recovery will go smoothly, that’s our main objective. If you’re out for between six and nine months you have to wait and see how the rehab is developing. But for me, that is no surprise.

Kevin Ciubotaru has joined the club, what will he bring?

It’s the first I have heard that. I think he is for the academy.

For me, in the first team, you want to get the biggest talents in Europe, if possible, to add to your academy and to make sure you keep developing not only the Scottish talent but also the big talents from abroad.

We just brought Matheusz Zukowski from Poland for the first team who is also a young talent.

For us, it’s an ongoing process.

Could complacency be an issue against Annan?

There won’t be complacency from our side. You have to respect the opponent.

We are there to win the game and go to the next round but upsets are always there in cup competitions.

When we play our level and if we play to the level of recent games we will win. That’s our obligation and that’s our aim.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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