Giovanni van Bronckhorst saw his Rangers side qualify for the Europa League knockouts in his first game in charge and said the players had made him “very proud”.
Van Bronckhorst only took charge of the team after Sunday’s bruising 3-1 League Cup to Hibs but saw the players bounce back to defeat Sparta Prague 2-0 and sail into the next round in Europe.
An Alfredo Morelos double secured the win and another memorable European night at Ibrox, leaving Van Bronckhorst with plenty to be happy about.
“I’m very proud of the team and how they reacted after Sunday,” he said.
“Although we only had two training sessions, they did the game plan really well.
“The second goal got us through to the next round, which was the ultimate goal for today.
“First, the win, but second if we could qualify today we should do it. We achieved that and it’s fantastic for us as a club to be again involved in Europe after the winter break.”
Rangers held off late pressure and relied on some goalkeeping heroics from Allan McGregor to keep Sparta out in the final minutes and the Dutchman was pleased to see a clean sheet after the defence was criticised on Sunday.
“I think it was very important for us keeping the zero today,” Van Bronckhorst added. “Of course if they had scored a goal we wouldn’t go through. I’m very proud of my team for the goals.
“The performance of the midfield players and the back four was excellent, and at the right time at the end Allan McGregor made some fantastic saves.”
And he had words of praise for Morelos after he added to his European goals tally.
He said: “He did really well. He’s a striker who can create danger.
“I wanted him to play more towards the box. Sometimes he has a thing in going deep into midfield.
“But, as you see with the wingers we have, we should always create chances with crosses and we have to have bodies in the box.
“I think he did really well and scored some good goals.”