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Giovanni Van Bronckhorst urges Rangers to ‘stay together and bounce back’

Celtic v Rangers – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Rangers manager Giovanni Van Bronckhorst overcame his shock following a 3-0 defeat to Celtic to point out he had gone on to win the title following similar experiences at Parkhead.

Van Bronckhorst was in disbelief about his team’s first-half performance as Reo Hatate’s double and a Liel Abada goal earned Celtic a victory that put them a point ahead of the champions in the cinch Premiership.

The Dutchman scored the consolation in a 5-1 defeat at Celtic Park in November 1998 when Lubo Moravcik and Henrik Larsson both hit doubles, but Rangers went on to win the league by six points.

Giovanni Van Bronckhorst

Giovanni Van Bronckhorst played for Rangers in Old Firm clashes (Ben Curtis/PA)

Van Bronckhorst also played in a 6-2 defeat as Martin O’Neill enjoyed a winning derby debut on his way to clinching the treble in 2001.

After his first defeat as Rangers boss, he said: “It’s always hard to take a loss when you play Celtic away, I mean that’s obvious for everyone involved with this club.

“But as a player as well I have played many games here. I lost some games as well with big differences but eventually in that year we became champions.

“So it’s for us now to recover from this defeat and to make sure we go ahead with the challenge we have this year in becoming champions.”

The below-par display was not the first of 2022 though. Rangers have only won one of their four league games since the winter break and that came courtesy of a solitary late goal at home to Livingston.

Rangers host third-placed Hearts on Sunday in a major test of their resilience as they look to ensure their poor run of form does not extend into the sort of post-break collapse that manifested in the first two seasons of Steven Gerrard’s reign.

Van Bronckhorst said: “We lost one Old Firm and we won an Old Firm. That shows how many important games there also are in the league. We just have to pick ourselves up, stay together and bounce back on Sunday.”

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