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Legacy on the line for Rangers in Europa League final

Glasgow (AFP) – Rangers captain James Tavernier wants to leave his legacy on the Glasgow giants by delivering just the club’s second European trophy on their 150th anniversary in Wednesday’s Europa League final.

The Scottish side face Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville aiming to add to their 1971/72 Cup Winners’ Cup success.

“It would put me in the category amongst the greats in the club. That’s where we all want to be,”Tavernier told Sky Sports on the prospect of lifting the trophy.

“We want to put a legacy down for the day we retire. You can look back on your career and be proud of it.”

No Scottish side has won a European trophy since Alex Ferguson led Aberdeen to the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1983. 

“It means a lot, it’s not often that you play a final in Europe. As a Scottish team, it’s very rare that it happens,” said Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst. “So I’m really honoured and proud that we are in the final in Seville.”

The scale of the achievement is all the greater given the journey Rangers have been on for the past decade.

The Gers all-time top goalscorer Ally McCoist was the manager when mounting debts forced the club into liquidation in 2012.

“Nine years ago we were playing East Stirling in the Third Division,” said McCoist.

Rangers ascent through the leagues was not as smooth as expected. McCoist lost his job in 2014 during a season in which they failed to gain promotion from the Championship.

Even when back in the top flight, Rangers comparative lack of resources and poor management at all levels struggled to halt Celtic matching a record nine consecutive league titles.

However, Rangers renaissance began by winning the title without even losing a game last season.

“It’s all about stages and steps on the journey back. Last season was phenomenal to go through that campaign undefeated and win the title back. That was immense, but this is just another level.”

– Fortress Ibrox –

The jubilation for the blue half of Glasgow at stopping Celtic’s bid for 10-in-a-row was tempered by the full season being played behind closed doors.

With 50,000 back in the stands, Ibrox has been a fortress on the road to Seville with tens of thousands set to follow their team to Spain.

Braga and RB Leipzig found to their cost that a 1-0 lead was not enough as Rangers were inspired to 3-1 wins with home advantage in the second legs of quarter-finals and last four.

However, hope they can cope far from home in the final comes from a stunning 4-2 win away to Borussia Dortmund in the last 32.

Having come so far, Rangers are not a crossroads with the outcome at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan set to dictate their path.

Celtic have already snatched back the crown as Scottish champions and with it direct entry to next season’s Champions League.

Lift the Europa League and Rangers will join them in the group stages for the first time since 2010 with the extra bounty of their European prize money from this season and next season’s Super Cup to come.

Van Bronckhorst replaced Steven Gerrard mid-season and an overhaul of the squad is expected in the Dutchman’s first summer window.

Veterans Allan McGregor and Steven Davis, as well as influential centre-back Connor Goldson are out of contract at the end of the season

Other heroes of the run to the final, Ryan Kent, Joe Aribo and Alfredo Morelos will also enter the final year of their deals at Ibrox.

The cycle of a team that has restored Rangers’ pride at home and abroad may be coming to a close.

But they can make sure they will be fondly remembered forever if they put Frankfurt to the sword.

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