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Sir Kenny Dalglish: Now Giovanni has shown that he is the real deal

© SNS GroupGiovanni van Bronckhorst enjoys the moment after Rangers’ win over RB Leipzig.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst enjoys the moment after Rangers’ win over RB Leipzig.

Surely nobody can now dispute that Giovanni van Bronckhorst has taken on the role of Rangers manager from Steven Gerrard and moved things forward.

Sure, he has lost a six-point lead to Celtic in the Premiership, and with it – barring a miracle for his club – the title.

But you have to remember the Dutchman inherited the squad in November, and he had to be patient.

He knew he couldn’t rip up what Steven had built because it had been successful last season.

Giovanni had to take his time, assess things, and then make changes as he saw fit. But they were subtle changes. A hammer wasn’t required.

And now he has taken them all the way to a major European final.

For his team to score three goals in the semi-final against RB Leipzig when they had no centre-forward on the pitch was quite incredible.

With both Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe injured, Giovanni had to improvise, and come up with a plan.

His creative juices have been flowing right through an impressive European campaign this year.

He has moved John Lundstram into a central defensive role, and he has also gone to a back three at half-time to see off Borussia Dortmund at Ibrox.

On Thursday, he had Scott Wright as the central striker, and played really well.

Others, such as Fashion Sakala, Joe Aribo and Scott Arfield, have also been used there as the options were limited.

So Giovanni and his staff deserve enormous credit. They have clearly worked on different plans and tactical situations, and it has paid off.

He has also asked them to play very defensively on occasions, like the first leg in Leipzig. That has worked really well as teams have struggled to break them down.

They have found solutions to the various problems they have encountered.

I have also been impressed with Rangers’ fitness levels. I don’t know what they are feeding the lads for pre-match meals, but it is clearly working.

In the past few weeks, they have beaten Braga, Celtic and Leipzig. In two of those games, they had to go to extra-time.

But they were fit, hungry and never looked tired. They were aggressive in all those games and tried to take things to the opposition.

I’m sure that’s the way they will be in the Final in Seville on May 18. Rangers have already defeated two Bundesliga sides, so they have nothing to fear in this one.

That said, Eintracht knocked out Barcelona and West Ham to reach the showpiece. It would have been good to see Davie Moyes get there with the Hammers, but it wasn’t to be.

The defeat in the first leg left them with an uphill task, and going down to 10 men the other night sealed their fate.

So James Tavernier will lead his team out against another German side later this month, and he deserves to do so.

He is the top scorer in the tournament with seven goals, and netted the vital opener the other night.

It was also good that Rangers won on the night they all remembered Jimmy Bell. He made a significant contribution to the club for many decades, and people such as him are the lifeblood of any good football club.

The thoughts of everyone in the Dalglish household are with the Bell family at this very sad time.

But there are exciting times ahead, and Rangers are on the verge of a very special season.

It’s the same for Liverpool, who now face Real Madrid in the Champions League Final.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men defeated Manchester City in a dramatic second leg in Spain.

It will be a cracker in Paris, and one I’m very much looking forward to.

It will not be a stroll for Liverpool as Real have some outstanding players. Carlo is also one of the very best coaches in football, and has just become the first man to win league titles in all major European nations.

Will it be a Liverpool and Rangers double in Europe?

Watch this space. . .