Europa League final boost for Rangers with striker Kemar Roofe ready to play

Scottish side take on Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville on Wednesday

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Glasgow Rangers' chances of lifting only the second European trophy in their history were given a massive boost on Tuesday when striker Kemar Roofe was declared fit and ready to play.

The Scottish side take on Eintracht Franfurt in the Europa League final on Wednesday looking to add to the European Cup Winners' Cup they won back in 1972.

Roofe has been missing since picking up a knee injury during the Scottish Cup semi-final victory over Old Firm rivals Celtic on April 17 and it was looking touch and go whether the former Leeds and United and Anderlecht player would be fit for the big game in Seville.

Rangers had already lost 18-goal top-goalscorer Alfredo Morelos for the rest of the season due to a thigh problem and not having Roofe – who has notched 17 goals in 35 games – would have left Giovanni Van Bronckhorst's short of firepower against the German side.

Last season's Scottish champions managed without Roofe for the semi-final against BR Leipzig that saw Rangers recover from losing the first leg 1-0 in Germany by winning the return game in Scotland 3-1 in front of a raucous crowd at Ibrox.

But the 29-year-old returned to full training earlier this week and is set to feature at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium in Spain. “Kemar is available,” said Van Bronckhorst on Tuesday. “He trained for the first time with us yesterday. He had individual training before that and he will be training later.

“He will be in the squad and if I want to use him he is available. Of course it’s a boost for us,” Van Bronckhorst said. “He got injured a couple of weeks ago, he was in a good spell, very important for the team.

Rangers attacker Kemar Roofe training session in Seville ahead of the Europa League final against Eintracht Frankfurt. PA

“I’m happy that he is back because he was working hard to be ready for the Leipzig game. He didn’t make it so we just extended it for him for the final. He is here and he is ready to play his part.”

It will be the Gers’ 19th European game of the season, with the road to the final starting early last August with a Champions League qualifier against Malmo in Sweden.

The Light Blues dropped into the Europa League and lost their first two group matches under Steven Gerrard – who then left to take charge at English side Aston Villa – but it all came good under his Dutch replacement Van Bronckhorst who oversaw thrilling wins against Borussia Dortmund, Red Star Belgrade, Braga and Leipzig.

Rangers have been dethroned as champions by Celtic in the domestic league, finishing second, but can secure another trophy when they take on Hearts in the Scottish Cup final on Saturday.

Opponents Eintracht finished 11th in the Bundesliga but secured their place in the final by beating Real Betis, Barcelona and West Ham United in the knockout stage.

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst oversees training at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium on Tuesday. Reuters

“They had great ties against Barcelona and West Ham so they deserve to be here and it’s two clubs with a big history and huge and loyal fan base,” said Van Bronckhorst.”

“Of course, it’s different when you see the attention from media but we have to make sure we concentrate on our game.

"We have done it for so many previous games but it’s a big game that comes with pressure but you need that in any top sport to perform well and that’s what we have to do.”

And Van Bronckhorst also had a message for the estimated 100,000 Rangers fans expected to descend on the Spanish city for the game. “It’s not about numbers, you can bring 50 people and they will give you chaos,” he said.

“I know we have a lot of people travelling and we have to enjoy the occasion as manager, players fans in and out the stadium.

"We have to enjoy it and make sure we are not causing any problems and let the game decide who is the winner. I know half will go home really happy and half really angry but we should respect the host city.”

Updated: May 17, 2022, 4:44 PM
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