Europa League – Final: Glasgow Rangers, a decade of hell at the gates of paradise

Europa League – Final: Glasgow Rangers, a decade of hell at the gates of paradise

They say legends never die. That of the Rangers has never died out. A decade after coming close to extinction, a decade after having to start all over again, the Glasgow club is asserting itself a little more on the road to redemption.

Returning to the heights of Scottish football since joining in 2016, the Glasgow club have gradually made their steady return to the top. With a first Scottish championship title since 2011 last year, the 55th in its history, just that.

This Wednesday, in the Europa League final against Frankfurt, Rangers are looking for a second European crown. Fifty after the last one, fourteen years after his lost UEFA Cup final against Zenit, ten years after finishing at the bottom of the hole. “An incredible journey“, as Charlie Adam, a former resident of the club between 2004 and 2009, recently confided to the FinancialTimes.

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The joy of Glasgow Rangers in the Europa League, 2021-2022 edition.

Credit: Getty Images

Patience and rebirth in the shade

February 2012, the club is condemned to liquidation, due to a conflict and colossal debts due to the British tax authorities. With 160 million euros to repay to the latter, the “Gers” leave in D4. A tipped moment to take over the club, Donald Trump finally sees a local consortium pass him by.

The Rangers start from a blank page or almost. In the shade, in the most total indifference or almost, but always ardently supported by the fever of Ibrox Park. Deprived of recruitment for a season, banned from friendly matches before the resumption of the 2012-2013 season, the club must be as smart as ever.

And little by little, the “phoenix Rangers” resurfaces. “It will remain in the folklore of football…“, has also entrusted Mark Warburton. “Can we imagine Real Madrid or Barça diving into D3 or D4?

Bankruptcy, Trump, Gerrard, Old Firm … The key dates in the fall and return to the top of the Rangers

The Gerrard turn

Led successively by Ally McCoist and Mark Warburton at the beginning of the decade, the club will experience the most decisive turn in its history under the leadership of Steven Gerrard who will reinstall the club in its place between 2018 and 2021. With this famous coronation in 2021, far, far ahead of Celtic’s sworn enemy.

Things really started to take shape when Steven Gerrard arrived“, says Charlie Adam.”He brought the club back to its former glory and showed how important it was to play for Rangers.

During the tenure of the former Reds player, the means are still not legion. The club must continue to tinker and above all to recruit intelligently and at a lower cost. Winning bets since many executives of the current team come from less “prestigious” teams and divisions such as Glen Kamara, Alfredo Morelos or Borna Barišić.

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Dented course, dream epic

This “Gerrardian heritage”, Giovanni van Bronckhorst has been working to make it flourish and shine since last fall and the return of the legend of the Reds to England, at Aston Villa. A year after regaining the national throne last year for the first time in ten years, Rangers have finally come up against the green and white neighbor to retain their title this season.

Reigning Scottish champions, the Glasgow club have found a more than welcome escape from the European Cup. And what better than the Europa League to concretize this definitive return to the table of the greats of the Old Continent? Very quickly eliminated in the third preliminary round of the Big Ears Cup, the Light Blues passed all the obstacles in C3 and not the least.

Gio van Bronckhorst and Leon Balogun celebrate as Glasgow Rangers qualify for the 2021-22 Europa League final.

Credit: Getty Images

Everything had not yet started ideally, especially in the group stage. In the OL group, James Tavernier’s teammates had a hell of a long distance duel with Sparta Prague and had to wait until the last two days to qualify. Before having a hell of an adventure.

Fallen from Borussia Dortmund in the qualifying playoffs last February, the other Glasgow team signed a gala epic. After the Red Star of Belgrade and Braga, the “Teddy Bears” offered Leipzig, one of the other favorites for the coronation. The strength of a group, the strength of a city.

A starving team ready to regain their former greatness

Because this Rangers team is one hell of a cocktail. Spicy and in the image of its best years, the Scottish collective can rely on experienced captains such as its historic goalkeeper Allan McGregor, its captain James Tavernier, landed in 2015 and current top scorer in the Europa League or Steven Davis , the most capped player in the Northern Irish selection.

Add to that young people with fangs like attackers Alfredo Morelos, Kemar Roofe, Fashion Sakala or Ryan Kent and you get a formidable team where the “fighting spirit” and the taste for combat prevail again.

Colombian striker Alfredo Morelos, spearhead of Glasgow Rangers, scorer in the Europa League 2021-2022.

Credit: Getty Images

For the greatest pride of Giovanni van Bronckhorst. “I am very proud of the achievement built so far. We are in the final, we must do everything to win it now…“Carried by their blue wave, in the cauldron of Ibrox Park as well as outside, the “Gers” will be able to count on their followers, as often. They will be more than 80,000 in the Andalusian streets this Wednesday. hell of a party with the equally ardent Frankfurt fans.

If Eintracht has never lost to Scottish clubs in the European Cup, Rangers have already offered the scalp of two German teams in the competition. “Frankfurt is not there by chance, but it is played on a match and we believe in ourselves“, launched James Tavernier.

This Wednesday, the final opposition between Glasgow Rangers and Eintracht Frankfurt may not be the sexiest of recent years on paper. But this duel at the top has much more history and flavor than it lets on. With in particular a ticket for the next Champions League at stake.

Sixty-two years after their one and only opposition in the semi-finals of the Champion Clubs’ Cup, ancestor of the C1, largely dominated by Eintracht, the two clubs have an appointment with history. With an undeniable flavor of revenge for the Light Blues. This new night in Seville promises to be hot. And there is no doubt that it would give the Rangers a big spotlight again, in the precipice a few years ago.

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