Rangers Produce Fitting Fernando Ricksen Europa League Tribute!

Even the TV audience could feel the emotion that was coming from Ibrox last night.

The club still mourning a legend’s passing produced a battling and energetic performance that the late Fernando Ricksen would have been proud of!

It seems fitting that Rangers would gain such an inspirational victory against a team from Fernando’s homeland in an important Europa League fixture.

The Gers fans had the Ibrox stands rocking from the get go.

That heady atmosphere seemed to cause nerves for the home side in the first ten minutes as Feyenoord were the team on top. Again that kind of ties into the Gers career of Fernando, who at the start of his time at Govan was hauled off in the early stages of an Old Firm clash because his nerves got the best of him.

It was lovely that everyone applauded the former Rangers and Dutch international right-back on the second minute (he wore the number two jersey). Both managers joined in, as did players on the park like Alfredo Morelos. It shows that football really isn’t the be all and end all, even during such a high pressured game!

Ricksen didn’t let that first dismal first Old Firm game define his time in Glasgow and the Light Blues last night also stepped away from the nerves to take control of their own destiny.

I think it’s fair to say Fernando Ricksen had some temperamental issues when he played in Rangers Blue and the same can definitely be said about Gers hitman Morelos. But again like the Dutchman, when totally focused Alfredo is a warrior who will gave his all for the shirt. He was terrific last night. Yes he tired towards the end and he snatched at a few chances but he ran all day, gave the Feyenoord defence a torrid time and his link-up play was sublime.

He was ably supported by Scott Arfield and Sheyi Ojo. The duo would help press and they also tried as much as they could to stay close to Morelos.

It probably should’ve been fate that Rangers got a penalty and their number two and captain stood up to take the kick. Unfortunately James Tavernier couldn’t keep to the fairytale script as his penalty hit the post and flew wide. Although it should be noted that Tavernier did work hard on the right and push forward when he could just as Ricksen used to do in Govan.

On the other side of the park Croatian left-back Borna Barisic had one of his best games as a Rangers player. It was he who won the ball well inside Feyenoord’s half, that would arrive at the feet of Sheyi Ojo and the Liverpool loanee struck a powerful shot into the back of the net with his left foot. Fernando scored a few thunderbolts during his career but I’m not sure he hit one as sweet as Ojo did last night. The young Englishman ran towards the crowd and dedicated his fantastic strike to the late Rangers captain.

Rangers were certainly the dominant team as the half-time whistle blew, if anything Jaap Stam’s men were lucky not to be losing by more.

In the second half it became more of a battle as the Scottish Premiership side couldn’t find that second goal and their Dutch counterparts started to come more and more into the game.

Trendiness also crept in but it’s in big moments like that when you need your warriors to step up. Ryan Jack did a great job in midfield in midfield and, in defence, new boy Filip Helander looked assured and was winning any ball that came near him.

If Feyenoord did manage to breach Steven Gerrard’s defence then Allan McGregor was there to keep them at bay with a couple of fine stops. For me, McGregor is the best keeper Rangers have had for big European nights.

You could feel the tension growing as the final whistle neared but Rangers fought hard for the win and they managed to see it out.

It was a performance that did remind me of Fernando Ricksen and I loved that beyond anything else!

Afterwards Gers boss Gerrard said this:

“It has been an emotional time for everyone connected to the club, and more importantly, for Fernando’s young family.”

“All I wanted was for that whistle to go and for his family and him looking down to be really proud of the performance and I think the players gave him that.”


I 100% agree with the Rangers manager, it was a fine performance that Fernando would have been proud of!

I wish to dedicate this article to Fernando Ricksen and his family.

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