Gio van Bronckhorst Rangers press conference in full as Ibrox boss reveals talks over Celtic fixture change


The big games just keep on coming for Rangers as the euphoria of Thursday night’s historic Europa League quarter final triumph over Braga fades.

Now the attention turns to Sunday’s huge Scottish Cup semi final against Celtic.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst has never got the better of Ange Postecoglou’s side as a manager, losing both meetings so far.

But cup football is a one off and he has ensured nothing will be left out on the pitch come kick-off at Hampden.

If Rangers are to progress, they will have to do it without talisman Alfredo Morelos who is on the sidelines until next season.

James Tavernier has stepped up with important goals when it matters this season and Kemar Roofe bagged a hat-trick last weekend with leaves Van Bronckhorst with threats throughout the pitch as they seek a final place.

Here is the press conference in full:

What positive impact can Thursday night’s success have on Sunday’s game?

GVB: We are through to the semi-finals in Europe. We had a great night on Thursday of course going through.

It gave us a lot of big positives and a lot of momentum going into the Celtic game.

Is everyone fit and available for the game?

GVB: Yeah well we still have to train again in a couple of hours but we don’t have any injury doubts for tomorrow.

We are just going to prepare the last training today for tomorrow. We are looking forward to this game.

Talks to have Celtic league game switched?

GVB: I think the club are having talks now.

When you have more games at the last stage of the season.

You see in other countries when games are moved to different dates or kick-off times are changed.

I think we just want to do the best for Scotland – that’s why we are still involved in Europe getting a lot of points for everyone.

Hopefully, they will also help us to perform as well as possible in Europe.

But, also make sure we have time to rest enough before playing the games in Scotland.

What scope is there for fixtures to be shifted to accommodate Europe?

GVB: Of course we can have the request, that’s what we are doing at the moment.

In the end they have to agree and make sure the fixtures are moved.

We will do everything we can to do so but in the end they have the final call.

You see in other countries all the associations are moving the dates.

So the only thing that can happen is that they agree and that’s the point we are all waiting for.

Looking back at the last game against Celtic, is there much you need to change this time around?

GVB: Of course you do not want to make so many mistakes in games.

In the game two weeks ago we started really well before conceding two.

We have to defend better as a team and do not concede goals.

In the second half I think we were pushing hard for the equalizer and had a lot of chances.

We just have to be more clinical in those moments and put in an overall good display over 90 minutes or longer if needed.

It is a big game and that requires a big performance. Tough games are always close and we have to make sure we will be winning this time.

Is Aaron Ramsey finally showing his influence in the squad?

GVB: In the last few weeks he has played the most since he came here.

He had some set-backs in the beginning but he could feature in the Celtic game, he could play against St Mirren and of course against Braga he was there.

I think he is physically the best he’s been since he joined.

Hopefully now we can keep him fresh for the games ahead.

Is European football taking its toll on the squad?

GVB: We don’t have any injury doubts and we are looking forward to this game.

We have everyone available even though it was a physically tough and demanding game.

We have enough time to recover from that.

From my point of view we have everyone on board apart from the long term injuries.

Just how good are James Tavernier’s numbers? 80 goals, 106 assists

GVB: Those are numbers that are not common for a full-back!

I didn’t have those numbers. But it shows his quality of him that he has with his driving forward of him.

Many assists he’s been giving over the last few years and also scoring goals.

That’s, for the team, a great thing to have. You want all the players in the team to score and to assist.

He’s doing really well, I’m happy for him and the team with his contributions.

He just needs to keep going, deliver those crosses and making goals.

I’m really happy with his performances.

How important is Allan McGregor’s experience in big games?

GVB: He is an experienced player and he has been through all the moments in his career. That experience helps you to perform on a high level.

He played his 101st game in Europe last Thursday so that means he is playing a lot of games.

You always want your experienced players in these moments and in the final weeks of the season to also help the team and he’s definitely a player with the experience.

Does he have any reluctance to play Connor Goldson due to his contract running down?

GVB: I’ve never experienced in my coaching career when a player is out of contract that it will affect them.

It’s a circumstance that happens a lot in football, players are out of contract.

Connor is handling it really well, he’s performing well and doesn’t have a negative influence on him.

It doesn’t have a negative influence on me. It’s the way things happen in football.

You have to perform no matter what, especially in a club the size of Rangers.

He’s been doing that and we all keep doing what we have to do – that’s winning games and make sure we do everything to get success to this club.



Connor Goldson celebrates Ryan Kent’s goal to make it 1-1 with Red Star Belgrade

Thoughts behind moving the full-backs higher up to suit the team and players?

GVB: We have, especially the last games, been quite a lot in the opponent’s half and in position where we can deliver crosses and dangerous deliveries.

That’s one of the aspects we’ve been training on a lot in the last weeks, to create more danger when we are in those moments.

Second half against Celtic we were in those moments a lot but didn’t create the danger we wanted.

I think we showed on Thursday and also against St Mirren that we are improving in those areas.

That scenario, we definitely have to improve also against Celtic when we are in those danger areas – to create chances and eventually, of course, score.

It’s not only the full-backs, the whole team needs to improve and we’ve been doing that in the last couple of games and we need to keep improving that also for tomorrow.

How beneficial is it to have Borna Barisic back in form?

GVB: I’m happy with the performances of Borna in the last couple of games.

He had a tough period but he worked hard to be ready when needed.

He has played really well in the last few games. We know his qualities of him and I was really happy that he is at a good level.


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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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