Giovanni van Bronckhorst and the brutal Rangers wake up call I hope is about to be repeated – Jorg Albertz


I know what it feels like to be on the end of a heavy Old Firm defeat at Parkhead.

For Reo Hatate the other night, see Lubo Moravcik in 1998.

Back then, he was Celtic’s new signing and he scored two goals against us.

It’s not one of my best memories from my time at Rangers.

And afterwards in the dressing-room, our players – including Gio van Bronckhorst who was playing his first away derby – didn’t know what was about to hit them.

Because Ian Ferguson went berserk at every one of us. I can’t repeat some of what he said or what happened there.

The gaffer, Dick Advocaat, didn’t say a word because Ian did the talking. He gave everyone a real doing.

Arthur Numan, another new signing, had been to the World Cup with Holland in the summer of ’98. They got to a semi-final.

But I remember Ian saying to him: ‘You were at a World Cup? Well, that means f**k all to us!’

Arthur tells everyone that story now. But Ian’s words definitely had an effect on the players.

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At that moment, they knew what it was all about.

I hope something similar happens after Wednesday night.

Someone has to stand up and be counted for Rangers now.

I’d expect that from the captain and senior players. They have to prove all over again that they’re capable of playing for Rangers. It was a shocking performance in losing 3-0 at Parkhead.

At Rangers, you can’t be at that level against your biggest rivals.

Celtic deserved to win. You need to accept it and learn from your mistakes.

Of course, supporters will talk about it for a long time. But as players, you have to get your chin up and forget it. The next game is now the most important.

It’s all about a reaction now.

When I joined Rangers, I didn’t know what to expect from the Old Firm game but knew it was the biggest game in Scotland.

Moravcik scores against Rangers on his Old Firm debut

Most of these players have been at Ibrox long enough now. They should know what’s going to happen in a derby at Celtic Park.

With that type of atmosphere, they should have been prepared for it. I’m not having that as an excuse.

That a professional footballer doesn’t know what to expect in that environment? Come on.

Yes, we won the league last season and stopped 10-in-a-row with our 55th title.

But that’s gone now. And with any title win, the next year is always the crucial one.

Rangers were seven points clear on December 1 and are now one behind Celtic.

That’s just not acceptable. They need to get it right – and quickly.

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The roles are reversed now. Rangers are the chasing team.

And Celtic will have got a massive boost. They’ve clawed back eight points in a couple of months to go top of the league.

Rangers have to find answers now. They don’t need a nice performance or to play everyone off the park.

They have to show the right attitude to win again and not drop more points.

They can’t let Celtic extend the gap at the top because we all know what’s at stake with the title this season.

With £40million and a place in the Champions League group stage, it’s huge.

The players need to get their act together against Hearts tomorrow.

It won’t be an easy game. But with all their hearts, and everything in their legs, they need to go for every ball. The fans are disappointed so you have to give them something back.

The fans will expect a reaction and these players have to show they’re up for it.

Hopefully, we will see Aaron Ramsey make his debut at Ibrox.

We’ll only know how big a signing he is for Rangers at the end of the season.

But we’re talking about a quality player, the type who can step in and have an impact straight away.

Gio needs players who can make a difference now.

He’s used his contacts to get Ramsey in and must believe he can take this team further.

Ramsey has to prove that by getting in the team and having a positive influence.

At the end of the season, we’ll either know exactly why Gio has brought these new signings in – or we’ll be asking why they haven’t taken Rangers to another level.

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If Ramsey thinks it’s going to be easy or comfortable in Scottish football, he’ll fail. It’s neither. You must have the right attitude and mentality for it.


If you give 100-per-cent commitment, the fans will forgive you mistakes

If you get a bad result against Celtic but supporters go home knowing you’ve given everything, they can take it.

But that is totally different to what they got at Parkhead on Wednesday night.

They have got every right to feel angry.

But there are 14 games to go and two Old Firm derbies left.

The league is on now for both Rangers and Celtic.

But from our point of view, we can’t afford to give up the kind of points we have done recently.

Both clubs will probably drop something between now and the end of the season.

Who wins the title could well come down to who drops the least number of points.

The worst feeling is when the gap is so big that you have to rely on other teams.

But that’s not the case just now. The title race is still on and it’s in Rangers’ hands.

But they have to react now, starting with Hearts.

If they play the way they did in the first half the other night, they can forget it.

After that 5-1 hammering in 1998, we recovered, learned from it and went on to win the title. I hope it’s the same this season.




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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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