Kirk Broadfoot in Rangers Europa defense as he claims achievement won’t sink in Seville until next season


Dejection, despair and disappointment.

The Rangers players will have been racked with all of those emotions after leaving Seville on Thursday morning.

And Kirk Broadfoot knows the feeling.

Because he suffered the same brutal low after the Ibrox club lost the 2008 UEFA Cup Final in Manchester.

This time it was the Europa League, where Gio van Bronckhorst’s side came up short against Eintracht Frankfurt, losing on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

It was a traumatic loss for Rangers and their supporters, who could almost touch the trophy after Joe Aribo’s opening goal.

Broadfoot believes they might never have a better chance of creating history.

And he says it could be the end of NEXT season by the time van Bronckhorst’s players realize the magnitude of what they were involved in.

The former Gers defender hopes they can recover from their Europa heartache over the summer before having a serious crack at getting into the Champions League.

As he reflected on the loss in Seville, Broadfoot said: “There will obviously be a feeling of real disappointment.

“They got so close to winning a European trophy.

“It’s a hard one to take – there’s no getting away from it.

“It’ll be agonizing for the players because they had it in their hands.

“But at Rangers, big games come thick and fast so you need to get yourself over it.

“It’s going to be difficult for the players. You can not deny that because it is such a huge blow.

“I’d imagine they would feel like they’re never going to get a better chance of winning a European cup.

“There was nothing between the teams on Wednesday night. It was a 50/50 game and Frankfurt did not have any real household names.

“It can be hard to get your mind around it so you need a strong mentality.

“They need to go again and I’m sure they’ll do that.

“I did not realize back in 2008 just how big an achievement it was to get there.

“And I think it’ll be further down the line when these Rangers players appreciate just how massive this was.

Personally when I look back, it wasn’t until two or three years later, I thought: ‘Wow’.

“Especially for me in my first year at Rangers.

Video: ‘They made us proud’ says Rangers fan following Europa League loss (Daily Record)

‘They made us proud’ says Rangers fan following Europa League loss




“You think it’s the norm and say to yourself: ‘This must be what happens here, you get to European finals’.

“But it’s not. The club has only had five in its history.

“So it probably won’t sink in with the players until the end of next season.

“Hopefully they get to another one. But realistically, it’s not going to happen.

“The important thing is, having tasted it this season, they must get into the group stage of either the Champions League or Europa League.

“Because they’ll want to recreate the nights they’ve had this season.

“In 2008 after the UEFA Cup Final, we lost to Kaunas in the Champions League qualifier which was another real low.

“It’s huge for the club financially as well that they get into the group stage.

“Hopefully it’s the Champions League but the worst case scenario has to be the Europa League again.”

© Getty Images

Broadfoot can openly admit now that Russian big spenders Zenit were too good for Walter Smith’s men in Manchester 14 years ago.

That was not the case in midweek, with van Bronckhorst’s men more than a match for their Bundesliga opponents.

But rather than live with regret, he hopes Gers’ players can take the positives out of an incredible run to the final, beating the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Braga, Red Star Belgrade and RB Leipzig along the way.

He said: “The morning after Manchester, we probably felt it had just been a game too far for us.

“The squad of players Zenit had and the money they’d spent, it was incredible.

“They had big name players and they were the better side.

“But these Rangers players have to try and take the good points out of this.

“” It was an incredible achievement to reach the final, especially if you look at where the club was 10 years ago.

“They’ve beaten top teams like Dortmund on the way. Their budget is massive compared to what Rangers have spent.

“After 08, I genuinely thought that no Scottish team would get back to a European final.

“But they did it. And they did it in some style.

“The fact their full-back, James Tavernier, was top scorer in the tournament tells you everything.

“It was an unbelievable run.”

Rangers celebrate

© Getty Images
Rangers celebrate

Rangers somehow had to lift themselves for yesterday’s Scottish Cup Final against Hearts, just three days after their Seville pain.

Broadfoot was in a similar boat in 2008, with a tense climax to the Premiership and a Hampden date with Queen of the South all coming after Manchester.

And he admits it was tough to get going again after the 2-0 UEFA Cup defeat.

He said: “I remember we had a league game away to Motherwell a few days later.

“That in itself was a huge game and we only got a draw. That was probably because of the low we suffered in Manchester.

“Even in the Scottish Cup Final that year, we were 2-0 down to Queen of the South and somehow came back to win 3-2.

“The low of that UEFA Cup Final defeat had really taken it out of us.

“It was actually Walter who got us going that day at Hampden. He had a right go at us at half-time.

“That’s what we needed to get everyone going again.”


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