Now what for McGregor after Seville's heartbreak?

With Rangers keeper Allan McGregor's contract expiring, BBC Scotland rounds up the numbers behind the 40-year-old's season and wonders if it's time to hang up the gloves. (Author: Gardener)

McGregorAs Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan's clock approached the 120th minute, thoughts turned to a picture-perfect ending. With the veteran goalkeeper's contract expiring at the end of this month, it would have been the culmination of a glittering career. Instead, it was a major blow to McGregor, his team-mates and the thousands in blue in attendance as Eintracht Frankfurt broke Rangers' hearts to dramatically lift the Europa League trophy. With the season finale coming up against Hearts in Saturday's Scottish Cup final, a game the former Scotland international will be doubtful in, he now has a big decision to make about his future - as does manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst. "Allan has put in a fantastic performance for Rangers," his former team-mate and ex-Ibrox goalkeeper Neil Alexander told BBC Sportsound. Ahead of Wednesday's final, Van Bronckhorst was keen to park contract talks until the end of the season, while Rangers sporting director Ross Wilson revealed little when quizzed about McGregor's future. Connor Goldson and Steven Davis, whose current deals end in less than two weeks, are yet to have contract extensions along with the former Scotland goalkeeper, who has won 42 caps in his 11-year international career. "I think that's a question for these guys," Wilson told Sky Sports. "Obviously some contracts are expiring and people are going to have to make their own decisions about their future as well." What I do know is that this group of players is a cohesive bunch. It's a brilliant week to be a Rangers player and to be part of the club. "Ex-Rangers right-back Allan Hutton is certain his former team-mate could carry on for at least another season. McGregor was criticized for a handful of mistakes as Rangers fell short in their bid to retain the Premiership title, but Hutton believes the standards the keeper set for himself have magnified those rare mistakes. I think he could still play on. I want to see him play on but ultimately it will be up to him." Since McGregor's return to Ibrox in 2018, his inspirational form has been an integral part of Rangers' domestic and European success. Last season he was part of a title-winning line of defense that conceded a record 13 goals in the 38-game Premiership season. However, domestic form took a dip during this tenure. On average, McGregor conceded every 243 minutes in the last league – that has been reduced to 104 this season. The former Hull City player's save rate also fell - from 85% to 66% - with 15 Premiership goalkeepers posting better records. However, the experienced stopper has reserved his top form for Europe and is proving he is still more than capable at the highest level. McGregor's save percentage in the Europa League has almost doubled this season - from 40% to 73% - while his concession average per goal has risen from 54 to 88. Caliber, these are very encouraging numbers for a goalkeeper of any age. Saturday's final against Hearts will give Rangers a chance to end the season and maybe McGregor's career with silver. Whether the 40-year-old will be there is questionable. Back-up goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin was Van Bronckhorst's regular in the competition. He started in all four of Rangers' games, including the semi-final win at rivals Celtic in April, keeping three clean sheets and conceding a goal just outside of him. Ex-Rangers striker Rory Loy believes McLaughlin will keep his place at Hampden, as will Alexander, but if it is to be McGregor's last game - could that change the Dutchman's decision? "I think Jon will play on Saturday, he deserves that," said Alexander. "But if it was Allan's last game, would that affect Van Bronckhorst enough to start him from the start? “What I do know is that after Wednesday he will be absolutely gutted. I spoke to Allan during the week, he never reveals anything. He looked very emotional and so I think this will be his last season. I thought if Rangers had won the Europa League they would have played another year. The thought of playing in the Champions League group stage would have given him enough to continue.


What does the future hold for Aaron Ramsey?

Ramsey has only played 13 times for Rangers in four months and has struggled to assert himself (Author: Gardener)

Aaron RamseyAaron Ramsey will be remembered at Rangers for his missed penalty When Aaron Ramsey came on as a substitute in the 118th minute of Rangers' Europa League final against Eintracht Frankfurt, it felt like he was the only certainty in the looming penalty shootout would. A big game player with vast experience who has had pivotal moments in previous cup finals, not least propelling Arsenal to win the FA Cup with winners against Hull City and Chelsea in 2014 and 2017, this felt like his moment in a Rangers shirt . And yet, when those 10 penalties were executed, it was only Ramsey who missed, with a poor shot saved by Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp. The best, most experienced players miss from the point. When the midfielder was loaned out from Juventus on January transfer deadline day, Ramsey was hailed by Rangers legend Ally McCoist as the club's biggest signing since Paul Gascoigne. Many said he was too good to play in Scotland, although it was an indication of where his career is that the only formal offer Ramsey received from the Premier League was to join relegation strugglers Burnley . Ramsey has played just 13 times in four months, with just nine of those starts, and has struggled to make an impact. It was indicative of his time that immediately upon arrival he was unable to start the Old Firm derby against Celtic, which ended in a 3-0 loss and turned the title race in their favour. As always with Ramsey, staying fit has been a problem and there needs to be sympathy for that. He impressed in the Europa League quarter-finals win against Braga but was injured again in the first half of the Scottish Cup semi-finals win and was only a bench-man in Sevilla despite having started the last three league games. Within hours of the defeat, Ramsey was called up in the Wales squad for next month's crucial World Cup play-offs for a place in Qatar against Scotland and Ukraine. Much like Gareth Bale, Wales' other superstar, his career is at a crossroads and like Bale he gives the impression of being better for his club than for his country. Aaron Ramsey (left) and Gareth Bale (right) were at the heart of Wales' recent success. It feeds the belief that both are far more comfortable with Wales and all of Ramsey's best games of recent times - most recently against Turkey in the summer's European Championships and against the Czech Republic in a World Cup qualifier in October - in a Wales shirt. Bale is 32 and is out of contract with Real Madrid at the end of this season, in a relationship that has turned viciously sour despite winning the Champions League four times with the Spanish giants and possibly a fifth when they later face Liverpool is month. Ramsey, more than a year younger at 31, is also not wanted by Juventus, who signed him after his contract with Arsenal expired in 2019, meaning he became one of the biggest earners in world football. Almost all of his salary at Rangers, who pay no loan fee, is subsidized by Juventus, where he has one year left on his contract and will not return to Turin. Juventus just don't want him back and maybe their style of play, especially under Allegri, just doesn't suit him. He last played 90 minutes for them in January. January 2021 while he has only played 111 minutes for the Italian team this season. As with Bale at Madrid, although not quite as well known, Ramsey has not hidden his dissatisfaction with the club he joined with such high hopes. Rangers have no option to sign Ramsey on a permanent basis at the end of this season, not that they could do so as part of their pay structure anyway. A return to Juventus would be an uncomfortable option considering how they plan to get him out, especially as they are working hard to convince Paul Pogba to rejoin them. Rangers have signed Ramsey for valid reasons and who knows, he may play a crucial role in another cup final when they meet Hearts in the Scottish Cup final on Saturday. But only if Ramsey could stay fit enough and sadly that didn't happen. Rangers understandably argued that the deal felt like a coup, but also an opportunity to raise the club's profile. Ramsey didn't do that with his missed penalty, but unfortunately not in the way he or Rangers dreamed. Cruelly enough, it was the second Europa League final that ended in crushing disappointment for him. His last game for Arsenal was to be in Baku against Chelsea three years ago before injury ruled him out again. If he plays on Saturday, it will be Ramsey's last game for Rangers. That means that when Wales come to the World Cup in November they could find themselves in the highly unusual situation of their two key players trying to ensure they have clubs and are playing enough football ahead of this tournament which they will be desperate to feature , begins. As for Ramsey, as well as securing another move, he needs to make sure he stays fit enough to be the player he can be again.


Eintracht Frankfurt thugs throw flares at Rangers fans

Spanish police said they arrested five Germans after Eintracht fans, many wearing balaclavas, began throwing flares at a large group of Rangers fans in Seville on Tuesday night. (Author: Gardener)

RangersEintracht Frankfurt thugs have thrown flares and chairs at Rangers supporters in Seville after a 200-strong mob of German yobs attacked Glasgow fans ahead of tonight's Europa League final. Spanish police said they arrested five Germans yesterday after Eintracht fans, many wearing balaclavas, started a violent altercation with a large group of Rangers fans enjoying late-night drinks in Seville. The trouble comes as police have identified 400 "vulnerable" football hooligans who have invaded Seville to wreak havoc at tonight's Europa League final. Riot police can be seen in the background chasing after Eintracht Frankfurt hooligans who threw glasses and other rockets at Rangers fans shortly before tonight's final in the southern Spanish city. The violence outside the bar where the Spaniards had locked themselves in seemed to come out of nowhere after German hooligans in balaclavas had threateningly passed by. The man who was hit first had sat down with friends at one of the tables and appeared not to have taken part in the violence, which led to the mobilization of riot police and ended with the arrest of five Germans for public order offences. Another, believed to be a Rangers fan despite his nationality not being officially confirmed, felt the full force of a right hook to his head in a surprise ambush before all hell broke loose and the thugs started using chairs as weapons. The Spaniards who filmed the violence provided running commentary as if it were a boxing match, with one shouting, "Jesus, they really hurt him" as they recorded the moment when one of the chairs of the man receiving through the air was the first blow, hitting its intended target with full force. Spanish police, after quelling the riots around midnight last night, confirmed they had made five arrests. The German ultras were being pursued from Frankfurt and information was provided to the Spanish police about the thugs planning to attack Rangers fans. Their methods include monitoring bars where opposition supporters are drinking and then launching an ambush. The identities of some members of the 400-strong gang are known to the German police and their photos and names have been given to the Spanish police who are organizing tonight's game. Sources said the figures include some of the wet, vicious thugs from Frankfurt and come from the same gangs that attacked innocent West Ham United fans in Germany two weeks ago. Thousands of riot police were drafted in to try to prevent further trouble after late night clashes in which the masked Ultras attacked Rangers fans. Earlier Spanish TV footage showed the hooligans brazenly approaching heavily armed officers who stood between them and the Scottish fans before hurling their rockets as additional police officers reached the scene. A flare landed inches from where Rangers supporters were standing, near Irish bar O'Neills on the Paseo de Colon, where trouble flared up between Eintracht Frankfurt's Ultras and West Ham fans in March. A Rangers supporter was seen picking up a glass and throwing it towards German hooligans on the other side of the police line. Earlier footage showed Eintracht fans, many wearing balaclavas, walking the streets of Seville in search of Rangers fans. Police reinforcements were quickly mobilized, arriving in several ambulances with sirens wailing and lights flashing to restore order and stop the problems from worsening. But some Eintracht fans started throwing glasses, flares and tables at police officers. Rangers fans drinking outside the O'Neils bar on Paseo de Colon were ambushed and chased along the riverbank. Some Rangers fans retaliated and punches were exchanged, bottles and chairs thrown and riot police arrived. A Rangers fan suffered head injuries as a result of the clashes. More than 100,000 Rangers fans and 50,000 Eintracht Frankfurt are expected tonight before the European Cup final kicks off in Seville. A spokesman for Spain's National Police said: "The National Police have arrested five Eintracht Frankfurt supporters for public order offences, following the night-time violence in central Seville. "Rapid Police Officers, who were in San Francisco Square, had to intervene to deal with an incident sparked by a group of 200 Eintracht Frankfurt fans attacking Rangers supporters. "When they saw the police arrive, the German fans started fleeing towards Paseo Colon, attacking Rangers supporters as they ran and clashed with the police who were trying to stop the attack on the Rangers fans. “At that moment, Eintracht Frankfurt fans started throwing glasses, flares and tables at police officers. "When they were 100 meters from the bars on Paseo de Colon, where it meets Adriano Street, officers managed to neutralize the situation with a police line formed of riot cars and firing warning shots in the air." When they were 100 meters from the bars on Paseo de Colon, where it meets Adriano Street, officers managed to neutralize the situation by forming a police line of riot police vehicles and firing warning shots in the air.” The spokesman added: "There were no serious injuries in these incidents, with the exception of a Rangers supporter who sustained a head wound. The spokesman added: "There were no serious injuries in these incidents, with the exception of a Rangers supporter who sustained a head wound. "Police arrested four German fans on Paseo de Colon and another German in a square called La Puerta de Jerez." "Police arrested four German fans on Paseo de Colon and another German in a square called La Puerta de Jerez .” Spanish police chiefs yesterday admitted the Europa League final represents the “most complicated” challenge they have faced in recent years. Spain's National Police chief Juan Carlos Castro said the heady mix of sunshine and cold beer could spark alcohol-fuelled violence but admitted "we're not going to control anything". Frankfurt police spokesman Thomas Hollerbach confirmed to Mail Online today that groups of ultras had traveled to Seville to stir up trouble there. "What they did to the West Ham fans in Frankfurt was a disgrace. The Seville Police are particularly concerned about the heavy drinking that took place yesterday and continued today from breakfast, both with beer and social support, despite the early hour. With temperatures reaching 35°C, many football fans take off their jerseys, bar their chests and drink beer after beer near Seville Cathedral. But one Rangers fan, Alex Harrisson, 50, from Cludebank, said: "There was a bit of trouble today but the majority of fans will stay out and just enjoy the sun and the beer.


Rangers' bruises in the Europa League will fade and be replaced by pride in the ride of a lifetime

Losing in Seville will hurt but Aaron Ramsey and the rest of this Rangers team can keep their heads up, writes Daniel Storey (Author: Gardener)

RangersAaron Ramsey has played in more big European nights than the rest of the Rangers squad combined, but experience can mean all or nothing when you have to face the demons of a penalty shootout and the hopes of half a city and half a stadium falling on your shoulders . Rangers' European dream ended with the last kick of the final. Eintracht Frankfurt deserved to win. Rangers had the edge in the second half of extra time, but before that the Germans were more dominant. They were also convincing from the penalty spot with all five penalties. Allan McGregor has pursued the dream goal of a playing career that could well end in Seville. He barely got into the same zip code when the ball headed off the posts and into the top corners. Like the Rangers supporters behind the goal, he was powerless. The Rangers thought they had done enough. They probably fell too deep into their own goal, probably let one cross too many into the box and probably fought a 50-50 ball too many to survive. They had dreamed that Joe Aribo's goal would be enough, pouncing on a sloppy header back and a bit of defensive misfortune to send half Glasgow into dreamland. Aribo has done its bit. He has made 65 appearances for club and country this season, throwing himself into the ground in a variety of roles and never doing less than his best. Thigh surgery requested by Alfredo Morelos made Aribo an emergency striker and thank God he heeded the call. When he decided to leave Charlton Athletic for Rangers in 2019, then-manager Lee Bowyer told him he was making a big mistake. In terms of play, going into extra time was the least Frankfurt deserved. Frankfurt certainly started brighter, spurred on by the deafening monotony of its noisy supporters. They threw up clean doubles, wingers strayed from their starting positions to sense danger like pigs looking for truffles and McGregor made a fine jump stop to deny Ansgar Knauff. McGregor missed Rangers' 2008 UEFA Cup Final with an ankle injury, becoming the oldest player in a European final. But when Rangers were disheveled, they grew into the game. At times their play was a little too direct, a dichotomy between short passes over their defense and long, sweeping passes into the channels or across the field. When Aribo drifted wide and created a two-one, Rangers looked to enjoy second balls and capture set pieces that they could use to alert Kevin Trapp. Aribo rolled wide from 20 yards after playing an advantage. Endgames tend to drift at two ends of a spectrum: chaotic thrill rides at thousands of miles an hour and all the bangs and bangs of a hungover construction site, or jittery, tense games where neither team dares a mistake and therefore risks little. Neither side dared dream they would ever be here, but the finish line turns muscles to jelly and heads to mush. You can practice everything and repeat game scenarios endlessly; little of it helps. Frankfurt was a narrow favorite for good reason. Oliver Glasner, who led LASK and Wolfsburg to the Champions League before arriving in Hesse, managed a great European Championship in which Eintracht went unbeaten to the final. If Rangers celebrated their landmark away win in Dortmund, their 3-2 victory at the Camp Nou was even more astounding, with a three-goal lead going into injury time. Eintracht spent £7million on new players last summer and sold three high-paying strikers (Andre Silva, Sebastien Haller and Luka Jovic) in as many seasons. Their supporters might have been momentarily silenced by the raging crowd of screaming Rangers supporters, who celebrated their goal as if it marked the zenith of their own existence, but Glasner reassured his players and stressed to them that they had enough to do something effect. For all the British-centric focus on Rangers' magical European trip, Frankfurt rivaled that. They were perfectly matched opponents in a final full of fear and tension, albeit a bit of poor quality. Eintracht kept their nerve in incredibly difficult circumstances and were rewarded with a place in the group stage of the Champions League. For the Rangers, defeat will feel like everything for the coming days. The emergency stop leaves bruises, but bruises fade.


Rangers' Aaron Ramsey has eclipsed Celtic flop Shane Duffy as the biggest prank signing of all time

So close yet so far for Rangers, who suffered the cruelest euro heartbreak in Seville - Fraser Wilson takes your calls. (Author: Gardener)

Aaron RamseyRangers hoped to sizzle in the frying pan of Spain. But in the end, their Europa League final dream was burned in the hearth of the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. A penalty shoot-out loss to Eintracht Frankfurt, where blockbuster January signing Aaron Ramsey was the fall guy, has rocked the hotline. Alan McGaw, Alloa, said: "To say I'm disappointed that Rangers horribly lost on penalties is an understatement but I'm proud they're remembering where we were 10 years ago. Yes, it's been a long journey and Rangers have done Scotland proud. Jimmy Mac, Glasgow added: “Rangers put Scottish football back on the map, they put in a brave performance in the Europa League final and made us all proud of our team and club. Every Rangers player can be proud of having achieved what others can only dream of. Gary Stevenson, Newtonhill said: “Thank you Rangers. They got all of Europe talking about Scottish football. From what the Celtic supporters have said, it looks like they will win the Champions League next year. And Joe Graham, Garrowhill, said: “So unlucky for Rangers to lose on penalties. He hasn't done anything for Rangers since being loaned from Juventus. Rangers made us proud. They will now win the Scottish Cup on Saturday. They are the best team in Scotland." Scott Gowers, Edinburgh, slammed Ramsey's penalty error when he said: "Rangers not letting the penalty retake was bad, the keeper giving evidence of the replay was way off his line removed. Well done Rangers for getting this far.” I'm pretty sure TV replays showed Kevin Trapp had one foot firmly on the line when Scott got the kick. Going on and David Bryce, Troon said: “Sympathy for the Rangers. However, this puts an end to the filth that has been claimed by Kenny Miller and Kevin Thomson that a Gers win would surpass that of the Lisbon Lions. The Lions are by far the best team Scotland has ever produced." Arrin Geddes, Irvine, agreed: "I think we can put an end to the ridiculous comparisons to the Lions now, they have won five trophies in one season. Kevin Thomson can get as upset as he wants but the time to talk is when the trophy is on display," said Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs: "Rangers were the stronger team but luck ran out when Ryan Kent must have thought he would score the winner. The Rangers board are now under scrutiny for betting on Ramsey, whose hopes of relaunching his career were dashed with his crucial penalty, an albatross he now has to wear at the end of his career. And so the tone of the calls began to change as Ramsey, Ryan Kent and even Van Bronckhorst came under fire. Shane Duffy (left) and Callum McGregor during a Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Celtic Paul McArdle, Gourock said: "Rangers fans: 'Shane Duffy is the biggest prank signing in the history of Scottish football'. Aaron Ramsey: 'Hold my crutches'." Barrimore Barlow, of Dunbartonshire, said: "GVB made a mistake with that line-up. It's the finals but this team was like a second leg setup that held on to an overall lead. Ramsey clearly wasn't a signing to embrace - especially when Davis and Sands lined up in front of him. Tim Gibbons wrote via email: "How fitting that after his overwhelming influence at Rangers so far, Aaron Ramsey should be the one to end up in the frying pan of Europe with an egg on his face. Kenny Wilson, Moffat said: “I thought Frankfurt were the better team on the pitch and far better off the pitch. You would have thought the Rangers fans would throw a sponsored silence. But what a mistake by Kent - he should be doing that all day." He said: "Let's face it, Rangers were unlucky and Kent screwed it up for them. But they will take one away from this run, the first team to miss three Champions League chances in one season. Playing in the Champions League and winning trophies is not for everyone.”


Pain embraces pride as Rangers' dreams melt away

The memory of how close Rangers have come should make them proud, but it will take them a while to find context to their exploits in the Europa League, writes Tom English. (Author: Gardener)

RangersFrom the shock and awe of their victory over Borussia Dortmund to the thunder and lightning of their home wins over Braga and Leipzig, Rangers provided some notable scenes on their epic run to the Europa League final. As Frankfurt hooted and roared on the winners' podium, Ryan Kent turned his back on them and stared down the middle distance, no doubt reflecting on his exceptional miss - and Kevin Trapp's save - from point-blank range with two minutes remaining in overtime. Aaron Ramsey was comforted by team-mate after team-mate but no amount of empathy could quell the despondency that gripped the Welshman. Ramsey is a wondrous talent at his best but there has been no sign of his excellence since joining Rangers. At the end of Rangers' biggest game in 14 years, their Superstar signing was credited with just three minutes. The headlines “Caught in Trapp” are already being written about his failed attempt to beat the Frankfurt goalkeeper. That's how Ramsey will be remembered at Ibrox. Rangers wanted to leave town with no regrets but will be overwhelmed by such emotions on their flight back to Glasgow. Every Rangers player carries the kind of baggage that just can't be checked in. A story that began in early August ended in Seville. They played 19 games in nine different countries and the whole momentous game of their European season was decided by a penalty. In their European history, Eintracht have been involved in two shoot-outs and lost both. This time they won with a series of well-placed punches. Life on this plane is a customs game. Kent missed by inches, Ramsey missed by inches. Scott Wright should have blocked Filip Kostic's cross to equalize for Frankfurt. customs again. When he finally decided to leave the stage, he did so at a funeral pace. He walked down the gold treadmill that had carpeted the pitch since the trophy lift, waved to a line of Rangers fans, then descended the stairs to the dressing room and was gone. There is a Scottish Cup final on Saturday but it will be a gig for Jon McLaughlin. It certainly looked like McGregor was saying goodbye, as bittersweet a goodbye as you can get. He had never played on an opportunity like this before. There was deafening noise and color and a tifo at the Eintracht end that took your breath away, a gigantic grim reaper vibe so big it apparently cost 50,000 euros to put together and seven trucks to ship it south transport Spain. In the heat and the hustle and bustle, there was a nervousness and inaccuracy in the Rangers' game at the beginning that didn't bode well. They were edgy, wasteful and sometimes vulnerable. Concord threatened three times within a minute or two. Jesper Lindstrom shot just before the goal. The Rangers found themselves in a struggle to overcome their own shortcomings. When it looked like they were going to get some traction, they got lost again. It was early in the second half and it was still 27 degrees outside. Lindstrom had another try, then Rafael Borre went down under a challenge from Goldson in the box and should have had a penalty. Eintracht didn't get it. Some traveled with the belief that a Rangers victory was in the stars. In a season that has brought so many surreal moments, here was another fantastic oddity to add to the mix. Trapp cleared on one end and Goldson caught him on the other, sending a header back downfield. Frankfurt struggled with Sow, but he panicked and only headed the ball at his own goal. Brazilian Tuta was also involved in the case but collapsed and tried to take Joe Aribo down with him. Had Aribo hit the deck, Tuta would have fled. The Rangers fans went into orbit. The feeling that fate was calling was heightened when Daichi Kamada - one of Eintracht's most important men - missed a great opportunity and chipped over McGregor's crossbar when it seemed for all the world that the equalizer was inevitable. Kostic is the best player in Eintracht, the best provider of assists in the Europa League. Wright was seriously unwise when he gave him room to drill a cross into the Rangers' six-yard box, where Goldson was caught. The tour lasted 12 minutes. Now it was the Rangers who had to dig deep into their pockets again. Into overtime and the temperature was now 25C. Scott Arfield and James Sands appeared in the first period, with Ramsey and Kemar Roofe in the second. The game was full of excitement. Kent had his moment with two minutes remaining. That was the chance to seal it, win the final and all that that came with it – the fame and money, the mantle of the immortals and the guarantee of a place in the Champions League group stage next season. The winger had to put it down but didn't. Trapp acted like a giant octopus and managed to keep him away. Despite his reputation as a menacing attacker, Kent has scored one goal since mid-December and only three in a 45-game season. That's a terrible return, but it wouldn't have mattered if he'd put away that sitter. Penalties came and penalties went and everyone saw what happened. Rangers people will never forget it. So painfully close and yet so painfully far away. The bitter truth is that they didn't max out their abilities, mostly looking uncomposed, except for a few individual sections of the game that didn't look convincing. A penalty. A. Entrusted to a guy who has shown in the past that he was made for days like this. Not this time. It wasn't supposed to end like this, but it wasn't supposed to happen in the first place either. A Scottish team bowling against Dortmund and Leipzig, reaching a final that Napoli, Lazio, Barcelona, ​​​​Sevilla and Porto, among others, could not reach. They didn't fail at the last hurdle. They fell after the last hurdle, in the last few steps before the finish line, the last centimeters. The memory of how close they came should make them proud, but it will take them a while to put their performance in this tournament into context. Now and for a long time, pain will take pride.


Ally McCoist is teased by Alan Brazil over Rangers' euro heartbreak and can't resist a gesture

Poor Ally McCoist - after watching his beloved Rangers suffer an agonizing defeat in the Europa League final, he probably wanted a quiet morning with (Author: Gardener)

Ally McCoistPoor Ally McCoist - after watching his beloved Rangers suffer an agonizing defeat in the Europa League final, he probably wanted a quiet morning with his own thoughts. Instead, he had to go live with die-hard Celtic fan and old pal Alan Brazil at the talkSPORT breakfast - and if Ally was hoping Mr Brazil would be respectful, he was fooling himself. McCoist was in jubilant mood throughout Wednesday as he attended the talkSPORT shows ahead of a historic game for the Glasgow giants - with an estimated 100,000 Ibrox fans making the journey to Seville to soak up the atmosphere. But in the evening they were all heartbroken as the Gers missed out on clinching their first major European title after being beaten on penalties by Eintracht Frankfurt. And unfortunately for the popular former striker, Ally got zero sympathy as he joined Celtic-loving Brazil and former Premier League star Gabby Abgonlahor on Thursday morning. Greeted with the refrain of the Tina Turner classic 'Simply the Best' - a nod to Celtic's Scottish Premiership title win and Rangers' close European Cup - McCoist simply replied: 'Oh, very funny. "Listen, I have to tell you. The first thing the guys [talkSPORT breakfast producers] said to me when I walked in this morning was, "Remember, every sign you make Big Al this morning will be captured by the new talkSPORT Edge app." Well , the teasing didn't stop and it wasn't long before Ally broke his promise to the breakfast crew. The taunts reached a climax during the daily Simply The Best quiz, where wrong answers were cruelly answered with the sound of Aaron Ramsey's missed penalty. It's no surprise, then, that McCoist ended up fingering Big Al and Gabby. "I'll tell you right away, I've got someone here on Monday morning," McCoist said ahead of his return to talkSPORT's London studios from sunny Spain. "Can I ask all viewers on the talkSPORT EDGE app to look away when I tell you both what I think of you?" Brazil couldn't resist replying as he gave Ally a two-fingered salute and said, "You know, Ally , I actually have two UEFA Cup winners' medals! "I actually went to bed when it came to penalties, I started very early this morning," added Brazil. "I woke up this morning and got a little look at the score before I got in the car's heartbreaking..." to which Gabby said, "Your heart looks good to me, Al!" You can ONLY WATCH the TalkSPORT Breakfast Show starring Laura Woods, Ally McCoist, Alan Brazil and a host of brilliant guests on talkSPORT EDGE every day from 6am to 10am.


World media react to Rangers' euro pain

The world watched and the press from Germany, Spain, Finland and England gave their views on the final. (Author: Gardener)

RangersWorld media react to Rangers Euro pain: 'New legends are born' but Gio's stars are 'broken' Get the latest Rangers news from Record Sport with our daily newsletter. The Europa League final wasn't a classic - they rarely are - but it was absorbing, excruciating and emotionally draining. For Eintracht Frankfurt there was only joy. OK, so is pride, but the scenes at the end, as the Rangers players walked past the trophy they weren't allowed to touch, just screamed pain. Spain - whose clubs have won the tournament so many times it feels right to host the final - was also intrigued. This is how the media in those countries and beyond saw what was happening in Seville... Eintracht had the best chance of the half as Ansgar Knauff saw his try missed by Allan McGregor. Rangers had a few of their own, however, with Joe Aribo rolling just wide of goal and John Lundstram seeing his shot go over the bar. In a race with Aribo, Eintracht defender Tuta tripped over his own feet to keep the striker in goal, and he was perfect when he finished under pressure and in front of his own fans. They missed a huge chance to equalize before Rafael Borre converted just 12 minutes after going behind by tapping in from close range when Rangers failed to clear a cross into their six-yard box. From then on there seemed to be only one winner should anyone prevail over the 90 minutes, with the Bundesliga side dominating but not converting their chances. Substitute Ryan Kent had the best chance of the next 30 minutes, but Kevin Trapp somehow denied him with an amazing save from three yards out. Aaron Ramsey was the first to miss, with Trapp saving a poor Welshman's penalty, and Filip Kostic made no mistake as he slotted a superb free-kick into McGregor's bottom corner. Roofe took the Rangers' fifth kick and his shot just crept off the post. Frankfurt is Europa League champion! They had an incredible journey in the tournament that took them all the way to the Champions League. Aaron Ramsey, the more experienced player, shot poorly and lacked confidence. It didn't take Kevin Trapp much to get the ball, but in the end he and Frankfurt deserved the title. Kevin Trapp makes Eintracht Frankfurt the sensational winner of the Europa League in Seville. 5: 4 in the dramatic penalty shoot-out against Glasgow Rangers The goalkeeper also had two saves for eternity. Rangers rushed down the right, Roofe plays flat in the middle. Rangers winger Kent charges up there, faster than opponent Jakic and four yards from victory. With an incredible, instinctively sliding tackle, Trapp scrapes the ball away and destroys the mega chance. Rangers' dreams of European glory melted in the heat of an agonizing penalty shoot-out defeat in Seville. Eintracht goalkeeper Kevin Trapp parried Aaron Ramsey's penalty – and Rafael Borre's penalty was the winning goal and gave the Bundesliga club the trophy in Spain. Rangers had led through Joe Aribo's goal in the final only to see Colombia's Borre equalize - but it was only a brilliant late save by Trapp in Ryan Kent's extra time that denied Van Bronkhorst's team glory. Rangers, who will be 150 this year, had been hoping for their first European trophy since 1972. New legends are born in the cauldron of Seville. Eintracht and their fans who love to travel are undoubtedly the deserved Europa League winners. Anyone who makes it to the final in 13 games without a single defeat and defeats opponents such as FC Barcelona, ​​​​West Ham United or Betis Sevilla deservedly goes down in history. Eintracht Frankfurt players and fans were able to enjoy a rare treat on Thursday morning in Finnish time: victory in the major European football tournament. First place in the 1980 UEFA Cup found itself in the Frankfurt prize cabinet, now the team has won the Europa League in its name. It wasn't an easy win as the team only eliminated Rangers on penalties in the final in Seville. Finland midfielder Glen Kamara started the struggling Rangers team from Glasgow and came on as a substitute before the start of extra time. Kamara gets fairly clean papers from his evening talk despite being left with few balls and darkness in the second half. All that, a long hot night in Seville and an even longer wait stretching back half a century and it came to this: a shot to lift Eintracht Frankfurt's first European trophy in 42 years. The ball flew past Allan McGregor, making history. At the other end of the Sánchez Pizjuán, the Eintracht fans raged, an extraordinary, unexpected run completed. Rangers fans, meanwhile, fell silent for the first time, although those who stayed stood up to applaud players who had given their all and were now heartbroken, a unique opportunity snatched from them. They had waited fifty years for a European trophy; who knows how long they'll have to wait for another chance. Eintracht Frankfurt – A shining example. Eintracht Frankfurt's incredible journey across the old continent has indeed found a happy ending. Joe Aribo and Calvin Bassey started for Rangers in the UEFA Europa League final, while Leon Balogun was an unused substitute as the Gers lost 5-4 on penalties to Eintracht Frankfurt after Wednesday's regular-time game the night ended 1-1 at the Estadio Ramom Pizajuan in Seville, Spain. In the first half, the Super Eagles midfielder, used as a false nine, rolled the ball beautifully in the 20th minute despite the referee's whistle going for a first foul on teammate Scott Wright. He also found Ryan Jack on the edge of the German box, but his shot went wide. It has been 50 years since Rangers last won a European trophy. Who knows how long they'll have to wait to get that close to another. In the Seville heat, Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side had a sweaty palm on the prize when Joe Aribo put them ahead just before the hour mark, only to go into overtime. Then, a minute before the penalty shootout, they loaded the blue and white ticker tape as Ryan Kent stepped in for a pullback from Kemar Roofe. Goaltender Kevin Trapp, who transformed into a starfish, somehow found a leg to parry the blast at point-blank range. That same leg would soon be the focus of the penalty shootout. In Seville, Frankfurt won the Europa League, replacing Villarreal as the event's winner. The German club with a determined Kevin Trapp canceled their ticket to the group stage of the next Champions League. Aaron Ramsey (Rangers) tripped over Trapp on penalties.


Rangers had a hand in the Europa League trophy

Heaven is a place on earth. Unfortunately it's not Seville. It never seems to be Seville. (Author: Gardener)

Europa LeagueUnfortunately it's not Seville. It never seems to be Seville. © Rangers' Aaron Ramsey (16) returns dejected after missing his penalty against Eintracht Fran... Although the city is attractive, Scottish football fans don't find much joy between its sun-drenched pitches and streets lined with orange trees. Allan McGregor, who saw five penalties go wide of the net, will certainly not retire there. Aaron Ramsey, meanwhile, will never want to return after seeing his effort, Rangers' fourth kick saved by Kevin Trapp. The Juventus player on loan should make the difference in Rangers' campaign upon his arrival in January. Rafael Borre scored the winning goal for Eintracht Frankfurt in the shootout to the right of McGregor. You know what they say about German teams and penalties... In Seville in 2003, at the same stage of the same competition, Celtic's dreams were wiped out. Here Scotland lost Brazil 4-1 in a World Cup game forty years ago next month, at least in this country, Davie Narey's stunning opening goal was remembered. A "toe poke" was how Jimmy Hill described it at the time, and the expert would never hear the end of it. Narey's shot briefly had a rival for the most famous goal scored by a Scottish team in the city. Joe Aribo's goal certainly threatened to be the most important after 57 minutes. As in the case of Narey, whose finish to the top corner is said to have only angered Brazil, the goal may have just come too soon. The rangers still had over half an hour to negotiate on another muggy night in the city. © Eintracht Frankfurt's Christopher Lenz lifts the trophy after winning the UEFA Europa League. They were only able to defend their lead for about a dozen minutes before Filip Kostic deflected a cross from the left off the top of the stretching Borre's right boot – it was a toe poke indeed. McGregor, 40, the oldest player to ever play in a European final and perhaps played in his very last game, didn't have an earthly one. The culmination of Rangers' so-called journey was widely seen as final season when they secured their 55th Scottish title and first since the financial crisis of 2012. Many newspaper articles at the time chronicling this odyssey through the divisions suggested this was the case Closure. Perhaps this was where the pain really was eased, despite the final, heartbreaking result. There were 12 substitutes in Seville. One was actually a Wales international on loan from Juventus. Ramsey didn't make the starting XI but it was comforting to know that a player of such quality was there when things got out of hand at Rangers. That actually appeared to be the case towards the end of the 90 minutes but Steven Davis, the experienced midfielder, was instead sent on by Giovanni van Bronckhorst as the manager tried to steady the ship. © Rangers fans dejected after defeat Another half hour of extra football wasn't necessarily in Rangers' interest given the conditions, but it was better to lose a late goal. Van Bronckhorst didn't even approach Ramsey early in extra time. Ramsey finally showed up towards the end of the second overtime, as did Kemar Roofe. Had Ramsey's time in a Rangers jersey come after such a stop-start month? Or would McGregor, who is contemplating hanging up his gloves, say goodbye with the winner's parade? That wasn't necessarily the case, even last year when they won the coveted Scottish Premiership title under Steven Gerrard. The then Rangers coach also managed to ensure the Ibrox side regained their respect on the continent. But that felt different. A final. A European final. Fans of other teams, including those in England, watched with envy. Even Gerrard, now at Aston Villa, must have felt a little frustrated that he missed out. There were times when it seemed like the occasion would overwhelm the Ibrox side. There were similarities to the last time they achieved such a showcase game, in Manchester 2008. Eintracht Frankfurt, who, like Zenit St. Petersburg, played in white 14 years ago, seemed determined to give Rangers as little possession as possible in the early stages. Rangers never really looked like beating their Russian opponents at the City of Manchester Stadium and rarely got on with the game. The general feeling seemed to be that John Lundstram was lucky not to be penalized for a high shoe in the opening minutes. The game was interrupted for minutes because the Eintracht Frankfurt captain was bandaged. It made him look like former Ibrox colossus Terry Butcher. Rangers fans would have been disturbed by nightmarish visions of Rode going up to collect the trophy, blood dripping from his forehead. Rode stayed and, more importantly for Rangers, Lundstram. Rangers were treated leniently by VAR here and then in the second half when Connor Goldson seemed to pinch Borre in the box. That was a disappointment and a potentially hugely important one given Rangers took the lead shortly after. Djibril Sow's wayward header from behind gave Aribo the chance to put the pressure on Tuta, whose subsequent slip resulted in the Rangers makeshift striker getting on target. Aribo ran to the Rangers fans' bench behind the goal. For the first time since 1983, a Scottish side have triumphed in a European final. Rangers will have desperate and lasting regrets - particularly Ryan Kent's failure to score in the last minute of extra time from Roofe's fine cross. The Scottish Cup, which they will fight for on Saturday against Hearts for the first time since 2009, is a big trophy.


Rangers suffer heartbreak on penalties as they lose to Eintracht Frankfurt

Rangers' player Aaron Ramsey, who came on as a substitute in the 117th minute, saw his penalty saved and Rafael Santos Borre netted for the Germany team's 5-4 penalty shootout win. (Author: Gardener)

Eintracht FrankfurtRangers were denied a historic win after suffering heartbreak on penalties in the Europa League final. The Scottish club lost 5-4 on penalties to Eintracht Frankfurt after 120 minutes of a hard-fought game in Seville. Rangers took the lead with a crisp low finish in the 57th minute thanks to a Joe Aribo strike. The game ended 1-1 after 90 minutes and went into overtime. Despite chances for both sides, the deadlock could not be broken and the final was decided by penalties until the end filled with Rangers fans. Ramsey came on as a substitute for Glasgow after 117 minutes. Filip Kostic converted Eintracht's fourth penalty despite McGregor having a hand ball. The Gers' Kemar Roofe made it 4-4 but then a stunning Borre penalty in the top corner sealed victory for the German side. Rangers legends have been lining up all week to ask their fans to behave themselves in Seville. Ally McCoist, Richard Gough and Graeme Souness, the list goes on - they all knew this could be a nightmare for the club if it escalated into drunken violence, as happened in Manchester when Rangers were last in a grand European final in 2008. Not perfect, but that's how a major European final should be. There were 160,000 fans from both sides in town and, remarkably, only a few isolated incidents - a hot spot in the afternoon heat led to a chair throw that soon fizzled out. While many Celtic fans and other rivals expected and even hoped that Rangers fans would let themselves down, the vast majority heeded the warnings and just came to enjoy the moment. After 2am in a hotel bar, we watched Rangers fans swap shirts and compare moobs to Eintracht Frankfurt fans toasting their win. The heat of Seville and the drama of the game drained them of all their strength. About 100,000 Rangers supporters had traveled to the Spanish city, most without tickets. It was Rangers' 19th game in Europe this season and Giovanni Van Bronckhorst's side must now prepare for Saturday's Scottish Cup final against Hearts at Hampden Park. The last time the Ibrox club won a European final was 50 years ago when they beat Dynamo Moscow 3-2 in 1972 and lifted the Cup Winners' Cup. The last time Rangers were in a final on the continent was in 2008, when they lost 2-0 in the UEFA Cup at Zenit St Petersburg. Wednesday night's game came just over a decade after Rangers took office, causing the club to relegate to the third division of Scottish football. It was Eintracht's first title in Europe since triumphing in the 1980 UEFA Cup against Borussia Mönchengladbach. The win also meant qualification for the Champions League next season, although they finished 11th in the Bundesliga. "We played 13 games in Europe and didn't lose a single one," said Eintracht coach Oliver Glasner. Before kick-off, there were some heated arguments between Rangers and Eintracht fans in the city.