Shocked Rangers find extra semi-final motivation after kit man’s death | Rangers

Strange as it may seem that a team could glean added motivation before a European semi-final, Rangers’ desire to see off RB Leipzig has been intensified by the sudden death of their kit man, Jimmy Bell.

Bell had worked at Ibrox for more than 30 years and news of his death reached a stunned Rangers squad on Monday. He had been in the dugout as Rangers drew at Celtic Park on Sunday. Giovanni van Bronckhorst, speaking as his team prepare for the visit of Leipzig – who hold a 1-0 advantage in this Europa League tie – said reaching the final would be the perfect way to honour Bell.

“It was a really big game already but we are all very determined to go out and give everything we can to make everyone proud and especially make Jimmy proud,” the manager said. “We were all very shocked by the news that Jimmy passed away. It [Monday] was a hard day for all of us and I think everyone was really down, as you can imagine. We didn’t do a lot. We were all at the training ground but the atmosphere was very down and still in shock.

“Of course we are still mourning and still down but the character of my players is the best I have seen in any team I have coached. I am sure that the character, the belief, the determination will be there. We will do everything to reach the final. It will be emotional but we will be ready when the whistle goes.”

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Van Bronckhorst’s sentiment was replicated by the captain, James Tavernier. “It is obviously devastating for the club and everyone who knew Jimmy, especially his family,” Tavernier said. “But I know Jimmy wouldn’t want the fuss. He would want us to pull our socks up, roll our sleeves up and get stuck in tomorrow, even in training today. That was him, the standards that he set. Come tomorrow everyone will be ready to go from the first whistle. We are going to do it for the club, do it for the fans and obviously do it for Jimmy.”

Van Bronckhorst will make a late decision over the fitness of Kemar Roofe and Aaron Ramsey, who missed the defeat in Germany and the weekend derby through injury. The Dutchman refused to pay heed to Leipzig’s second Bundesliga loss in succession, which arrived at Borussia Mönchengladbach on Monday.

“We have to prepare for a really tough game against a really good opponent,” he said. “They haven’t had the results they wanted and they are now in fifth place. Of course, Champions League football is also important for Leipzig so they will do everything they can to win this game.”

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