The disappointment of losing the Europa League Final left Rangers crushed.
Mentally and physically, they were battered and bruised. Giovanni van Bronckhorst and his team had my total sympathy.
John Lundstram’s interview at full-time gave a true insight into how the players. He thought they should have performed better.
The look on Aaron Ramsay’s face as he stood on the pitch at time-up didn’t offer evidence to the contrary. The Welshman looked distraught.
He had his penalty saved by Eintracht Frankfurt keeper Kevin Trapp.
On a human level, you had to feel for Aaron. He was courageous enough to volunteer to take one of the five kicks.
There is always a villain on such occasions, when it goes down to the wire, and Wednesday night was the midfielder’s turn. It was most unfortunate.
The bigger picture of this particular defeat will emerge and hit home in the coming days.
That’s when the Ibrox hierarchy will reflect on where this defeat leaves them financially.
If they had beaten Eintracht they were straight into the Champions League and the pot of money, in excess of £30 million, would have been waiting.
Such chunky funds would have given the club certainty and they would have been sitting down with Giovanni this week aware of the budget he has and the type of players they were going for.
But they do not have that luxury just now.
They may have to wait until the last week in August before they know if they have that Champions League treasure chest or not.
It’s far from ideal, but that’s football.
You must deal with the circumstances you find yourself in. There is nothing to be gained by feeling sorry for yourself.
Across the city, by winning the SPFL Premiership, Celtic gained automatic entry into the Champions League and that guaranteed financial windfall.
That has given Celtic certainty of what they are able to do in the coming weeks.
Having that sort of clarity should be beneficial to Ange Postecoglou and his recruitment department.
They know what they have to spend and they know when they are talking to agents and signing targets they are doing so in the knowledge they are in Europe’s No. 1 club competition.
That kind of stability and certainty is so helpful. But, of course, it doesn’t guarantee success.
So, Rangers must get to work and they need to do it as soon as possible.
They also have players such as Alfredo Morelos, Ryan Kent, Joe Aribo and Ryan Jack entering the final year of their contracts.
Is Allan McGregor staying or is he retiring? That’s a massive pair of gloves to fill if he decides to call it a day.
It could be a summer of many changes at Ibrox. Then again, it might not.
Maybe one or two will extend their contract and maybe one or two will be sold. We will need to wait and see.
As is the case with every manager, Giovanni will want to know as quickly as possible who will be in his squad for the coming season.
Rangers is an attractive proposition and there will be many, many players keen to sign for them.
The run in Europe has gained them applause and extra credibility. They have every right to feel proud.
Giovanni is also a coach who has tremendous contacts, especially in Holland, and he will tap into them.
It promises to be an interesting summer of activity at Celtic and Rangers and it will be fascinating to see how both squads look when the window closes.
At the moment, though, Celtic should have an advantage because they have certainty due to winning the title and being in the Champions League.
It would be great if Rangers got through the qualifiers and were able to join them.
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