Rangers could not “write a better script” after another incredible home display saw them past RB Leipzig and into the Europa League final, says manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst.
The Ibrox side won 3-1 to turn around a 1-0 deficit and set up a meeting with Eintracht Frankfurt on 18 May in Seville days after the death of club icon and kitman of 30 years Jimmy Bell.
“It’s very hard to find the words. It’s been an amazing night,” Van Bronckhorst told BT Sport.
“We said before the game we’d do everything possible. The players were fantastic. You can’t write a script better than this. We’re all very proud. We toasted inside to Jimmy [Bell] for this one.
“The two opening goals were fantastic, just like we wanted. We knew Leipzig would come at us, then to score in the last 10 minutes gives you an enormous boost.”
Rangers’ journey began in the play-off round after dropping out of the Champions League qualifiers and, after squeezing out of the group on the last match day, have now defeated Borussia Dortmund, Red Star Belgrade, Braga, and Leipzig in the knockout stages.
Frankfurt, who beat West Ham 3-1 over two legs in their semi-final, stand between them and a second European trophy which would come 50 years after their first.
Van Bronckhorst added: “Not many players can play European finals. It’s not for every player. Once we’re there, we need to do everything to win it. It’s remarkable.”
Lundstram’s ‘best night by a mile’
John Lundstram’s goal 10 minutes from the end proved the decisive goal, after Christopher Nkunku’s stunning finish levelled the tie and cancelled out earlier strikes from James Tavernier and Glen Kamara.
The former Sheffield United player joined on a free transfer in the summer and made a slow start to his Rangers career while facing plenty of criticism, but has been re-born in the second half of the season.
Over two legs in Leipzig he played as a centre-back and in his more regular midfield berth and shone, adding the vital goal to a brilliant display at Ibrox in which he won the ball back 12 times, and made the second-most passes of his team-mates.
“I can’t put it into words,” Lundstram told BT Sport. “I came in with a good feeling, look at the place, but to actually go out and do it, I can’t put it into words.
“We’ve been through so many ups and downs this season but to come through it and reach a Europa League final, wow.
“It’s my best night by a country mile. Playing in the Premier League was a massive achievement, but to get to a European final.”