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‘NO-ONE SHOULD COUNT THEM OUT,’ IBROX LEGEND BACKS GIO’S MEN

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RANGERS legend Brian Laudrup has urged the Ibrox hierarchy to invest in finances and trust in Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

The former Danish international winger is convinced the Dutchman has the answers to cope with Ange Postecoglou’s remarkable surge at Celtic that has seen the side transformed in the space of a season.

This time last year, the Parkhead men were limping towards the conclusion of the Premiership where they would end a massive 25 points adrift of Steven Gerrard’s champions.

This time, though, it has been an entirely different story with the Hoops six points ahead with only three games to play and within strikign distance of their tenth championship in eleven years.

Laudrup, though, has been impressed by his old team’s two most recent performances against Portecoglou’s pacesetters, a 2-1 triumph in the Scottish Cup semi-final and the 1-1 league draw at Parkhead on Sunday.

Van Bronckhorst has also manoeuvred his team to within 90 minutes of a place in the Europa League Final as they prepare to attempt to wipe out RB Leipzig’s 1-0 first leg advantage when they meet at Ibrox in 48 hours’ time.

Laudrup said: “All the talk about Van Bronckhorst not being able to compete with Postecoglou has surely gone. He now has a real handle on what Celtic want to do and the best ways to try and combat it, even with important players missing.

“That offers a lot of optimism for the future where Rangers are concerned

“No matter what happens on Thursday night, Van Bronckhorst needs to be invested in. With both faith and finance.

“He deserves to be given the right support and a positive summer transfer window which wasn’t the case in January to prove what he can do on his own terms next season.

“The situation with player contracts makes it challenging, but the prize for getting it right could be huge.”

Laudrup, speaking to the Daily Mail, continued: “Van Bronckhorst took over in November. He was replacing a popular manager. He didn’t have any of his own players and was obviously looking for more options in certain areas, particularly the right wing.

“He has made mistakes, of course he has. Looking back at some of the performances after the winter break, I’m sure he would have done things differently. He’s the manager and that’s where the buck always stops. Clearly, though, January didn’t help him.

“It’s too much to say that window decided the title on its own. There have been more aspects at play. For one, you have to give great credit to Celtic’s consistency. But they took a real lift from business done in January and Rangers didn’t.

“Diallo, Aaron Ramsey, James Sands none of them have made a big enough impact. Van Bronckhorst didn’t get an injection of reliable quality and that’s something I’m sure people inside Ibrox will reflect upon.”

The Dane added: “For now, though, it is all about Thursday night and a shot at history.

“The odds remain against Rangers, but Van Bronckhorst and his players are getting used to upsetting predictions. No-one should count them out.

“Rangers will have regrets, but it would be wrong to pin blame on Gio.

“If Rangers can overturn their first-leg deficit against Leipzig, Van Bronckhorst would become the fourth Rangers manager to take charge in a European Final after Scot Symon, Willie Waddell and, finally, Walter Smith.”

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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