GIOVANNI VAN BROCKHORST was the Ibrox scapegoat because Rangers are “just not as good” as Celtic.

The Dutchman was sacked just one year and three days after he had been appointed as Steven Gerrard’s successor on November 2021.

The axe fell on Van Bronckhorst with the club trailing Ange Postecoglou’s champions by NINE points after dropping seven from a possible 12 in their previous four league games – losing 2-1 to St Johnstone in Perth, drawing 1-1 with 10-man Livingston and St Mirren while picking up one win in the 1-0 victory over Hearts.

The team’s former midfielder also presided over the club’s embarrassing Champions League campaign where they conceded TWENTY-TWO goals and scored only two in six consecutive defeats to Liverpool (0-2, 1-7), Napoli (0-3, 0-3) and Ajax (0-4, 1-3).

THE LAST GAME…Giovanni van Bronckhorst makes his exit after the 1-1 draw with St Mirren in Paisley last month.

Michael Beale, a coach alongside Gerrard for three and a half years, has returned and his first competitive game will be against Hibs in Glasgow on Thursday evening after watching two goals from Malik Tillman and one from Scott Arfield give his new side a 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the friendly encounter at Ibrox yesterday.

Easter Road gaffer Lee Johnson will be out to make sure the ex-Queens Park Rangers boss does not get off to a winning start in the Premiership – and the Englishman admits he has sympathy for Van Bronckhorst.

The one-time Sunderland head coach said: “I’m always an advocate of keeping managers in situ because I think managers are often blamed for the results and normally there’s a bigger picture there.

“I understand the pressure falls on the manager because it’s your name on the door. But if I believed I had the right man in place, I would give him an adequate amount of windows to change it round.

BLUE HEAVEN…Michael Beale is preparing for Thursday’s visit of Hibs.

“I would understand recent success, I would look at the context. And I feel that, with Rangers, maybe the expectation was so high and sometimes you can be a victim of your own success. I think it’s a classic example of that.

“I suppose we’ll only know that in a year, 18 months depending on how the new regime does.

“I think Gio could walk away with his head held high, look himself in the mirror and know he’s done absolutely everything he can. Celtic are a top side and obviously they’re chasing those guys.

“From my point of view, you look at it from the outside, they’re just not as good. Simple as that.

“I’m not there to judge, I don’t watch every game. All I see is a good man who’s worked his socks off and lost his job along with a good coaching staff.”

Johnson, speaking to The Herald, added: “The king is dead, long live the king and good luck to ‘Bealo’ – after we’ve played them.

HIB HIB HOORAY…Lee Johnson is ready to duel with new Gers boss Michael Beale – but admits sympathy for Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

“I don’t know him really well, we’ve bumped into each other at courses and stuff like that. Listen, he’s done well. He markets himself well, he worked really well with Steven Gerrard, he went down to QPR and had a good start.

“But I’m always one who says: ‘Show me a manager after 200 games, when he’s been through everything’.

“So, I think the jury is out on anybody until he’s had 150 to 200 games and been through the ups and downs that number of games creates.

“We do feel we can beat Rangers, but everything has to go right.

“We have to make sure we’re absolutely on point with our attitude, with out commitment, with our organisation, with our confidence, to go and get a result there.”


About Author


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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