Europa League Final: Van Bronckhorst says Ramsey took responsibility despite shootout miss

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By Martin Graham | 21st May 2022

Glasgow Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst has hailed veteran manager Aaron Ramsey for taking the responsibility of a spot-kick in their UEFA Europa League final loss to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Joe Aribo put the Gers ahead in the 57th minute but 12 minutes later, a defensive error allowed Frankfurt to equalise. The game went on to extra time and then penalties, and Ramsey, on loan at Rangers from Serie A giants Juventus, lost his spot-kick to hand the win to Frankfurt.

Van Bronckhorst was quick to defend Ramsey, who he brought on three minutes to the end of extra time in preparation for a possible penalty shootout, to the media.

The Dutch manager said: “We prepared well for penalties. Borna (Barisic) had to go off and he is one of the first penalty kickers. We had players who wanted to take a penalty and some who didn’t and we had our list ready and we had to adjust it because of the substitutes.

“It is never nice to lose, everyone is hurt and disappointed. Aaron, of course, was disappointed but he took responsibility to take the penalty.

“You can make it or miss it and unfortunately for us he didn’t make it but you want players taking penalties who are ready and comfortable also.”

Rangers players express disappointment over loss

Rangers midfielder John Lundstram was emotional at the final whistle and told the media that he and his teammates had let every fan of the club down, and apologised for the loss.

Lundstram, who was perhaps lucky not to see a red card after an early accidental but potentially dangerous high foot on Sebastian Rode which left the Frankfurt midfielder bloodied, said when asked for his thoughts after the game: “I don’t think both teams performed great. We could have played better – it’s hard to perform on a big stage like this.

“It’s nervous for everyone. I’m just severely disappointed to let everyone down. The Rangers fans have travelled out here and given us three-quarters of the stadium. It’s heartbreaking.”

Midfielder Steven Davis, who is the only surviving member of the squad that played in and lost their last European final 14 years ago, suggested that it could be another long drought for another European final. “It’s a huge disappointment. It’s hard to reflect straight away,” he said. “The boys have been tremendous, but it hurts tonight.

“Unfortunately we were on the wrong side of [the penalties]. Whenever you get to a final it hurts if you don’t come away with the trophy. But I couldn’t be more proud of the lads, staff and fans. We left everything out on the pitch. It’s going to be a sore one to take. We know how difficult it will be to get to this stage again.”

Club captain James Tavernier, who took – and scored – Rangers’ first penalty in the shoot-out, said the dressing room would rally around itself ahead of Saturday’s Scottish Cup final. “I’m devastated. It hurts but I’m proud of every one of them who stepped up and took one,” he said.

“We went toe to toe with them, I’m disappointed because we took the lead. Their keeper made a fantastic save with Kent towards the end. I’m proud of every single person involved in Rangers. We’ve got to use this fuel to push us on. We want to be back in finals and have a massive game on Saturday. We’re a close-knit dressing room, we’ll get around each other.”

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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