Giovanni van Bronckhorst says he is eagerly anticipating his first match as Rangers manager and will relish a “special” European night at Ibrox, but says he will make changes to spark a reaction to the team’s cup defeat on Sunday.
Van Bronckhorst watched from the stand at Hampden as Rangers crashed to a 3-1 defeat to Hibs in the League Cup semi-final, just before he started his duties and preparing for his debut as boss.
When he takes his place in the dugout on Thursday for the crucial Europa League match against Sparta Prague, it’ll mark a return to a stadium he graced as a Ranegrs player for three years.
While Van Bronckhorst says it will be a big moment for him, he won’t be caught up in the emotion of the occasion.
“I am looking forward to the first game back in the stadium,” he said. “Of course it will bring many memories of my time when I was a player. Very good memories.
“I can’t wait to feel the atmosphere again in the stadium but I am old enough to separate my emotions into the focus I need to perform with the team.
“Before the game it will be mixed feelings but once the whistle goes from the referee I will be fully focused on my task and that is to guide my team to victory.
“It’s a big game, a special game in Europe. They are always great nights at Ibrox in Europe. With the support of the fans in the stadium, we have to create the atmosphere and environment where we can play well and win the game.”
In order to give his side the best chance of three points, the Dutchman intends to make changes from the bruising loss to Hibs. Though he said that he hadn’t had a lot of time to get his ideas across, he said the players knew where improvement was needed and that he would adjust things to cope with a capable Sparta team.
“I have certain ways of playing against different systems,” he said. “But you will see a team tomorrow in the system I like to play.
“It will be a different system against Prague than it was against Hibs. You will definitely see some changes.”