Gio van Bronckhorst vowed to pick up Aaron Ramsey and the rest of his district Rangers players for Saturday’s Scottish Cup final after the heartbreak of their Europa League Final penalty shoot-out loss.
The Ibrox boss admitted he introduced Welsh superstar Ramsey for the sport kicks after withdrawing substitute Fashion Sakala but the on-loan Juventus man was the fall guy as he missed from 12 yards.
Joe Aribo had given the Ibrox side the lead but that was canceled out by Rafael Borre as Eintracht Frankfurt forced extra time and penalties and came out on top in the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.
Van Bronckhorst was also left to rue Ryan Kent’s late missed chance with just a couple of minutes left of extra time with Kevin Trapp pulling off a point blank stop with Borna Barisic limping off to see him redraw his shoot out list.
Now Gers must regroup for Saturday’s Hampden showdown. Asked if part of his thinking about him in putting on Kemar Roofe and Ramsey was with a view to penalties, he said: “Yes, it was.
“We prepared the penalties well. Borna had to go out and he’s one of the first penalty kickers.
“We practiced the penalties. Some players are comfortable in taking penalties so a good few wanted to take and a few didn’t.
“We had our list ready but had to adjust it due to the subs. Aaron was of course disappointed but he took responsibility.
“You can either make it or miss it and unfortunately for us he didn’t make it but you want players who are ready and comfortable.
“The mood is very down. It’s never nice to lose so everyone is hurt and disappointed and you can sense it in the locker room but that is normal so soon after the game.
“We had a big chance at the end and it was a great save. Especially in those minutes towards the end of the game they can be decisive but Ryan did everything he could to score the goal.
“It was a big chance and you have to take them, especially in those minutes but Ryan did everything.
“It’s not going to be easy to get them ready because we are hurt and disappointed but we did it a couple of times after a short recovery.
“We fly back, one day to prepare and it won’t be easy but we will be ready for Saturday to try and end the season with a trophy.”
Van Bronckhorst won a Champions League final with Barcelona and lost a World Cup final with Holland and said: “Of course it’s a big disappointment.
“If you play a final in Europe and lose then it will be hurt because you play a final and play everything you can to win it.
“With penalties it’s a lottery and we weren’t on the good side but I can’t complain with everything my players gave and before this.
“It was a really tight game that went all the way to penalties and we lost. We were so close to winning a trophy but that’s football.
“If you win big endings you will have memories that will be lost forever but when you lose it will hurt a lot.
“I lost the World Cup final – the biggest game there is – and it was a huge disappointment but you have to move on and we have a big game on Saturday and have to start all over again next season.
“When you see the game a lot of subs were used because it was tough physically. They gave 100 per cent and that’s all you can ask.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.