Rangers can’t falter in Scottish Cup final after Europa League loss – Mark Hatley

Rangers players will have to level themselves up in their crucial final game of the season on Saturday
place: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Saturday May 21 time: 15:00 GMT
coverage: Watch live on BBC One Scotland and BBC iPlayer, listen to Sportsound commentary and follow on the BBC Sport website and app.

Looking around an empty stadium on Wednesday with Rangers fans fleeing and Eintracht Frankfurt’s party kicking off, disappointment in the air was inevitable.

After hearing James Tavernier after the match, he was nervous. You can see just looking at it. This is the important thing that he and the rest of the team need to get rid of.

We can all agree that they underperformed. They weren’t even close to the standard they had set in the last two rounds.

Lots of things can be said in relief. The number of matches they’ve played – 19 in Europe, including the final – and the heat in Seville. But he’s gone now. The mentality should be to look at a new Cup final on Saturday in Hampden against Hearts.

That’s it and it’s all over now – and it’s coming fast. Some might say it’s too early, but there’s a chance this can be corrected. However, they must erase what happened. Their heads cannot be lowered.

“The performance fell from the side of a mountain”

The most frustrating thing is that they did not express themselves as they did throughout the competition. They were getting stronger and stronger, but this performance fell from the side of Mt.

It is difficult when your key players are not performing at the highest level. You think of the heat I got when I walked in to comment for BBC Scotland Radio. It was very hot.

Should they have been out early to acclimatise? Could they do things differently? Players and crew can roll in their heads for days if they let it happen, but they simply can’t let that happen.

They are more than capable. They have always reacted well after a good performance. Look at the Scottish Cup semi-final against Celtic. After a bad show? They should be hungry to get out there and put it right as possible.

They’re well conditioned, and we know that. See how many matches they have played in quick succession. It’s the last before you’re on that beach. But don’t focus on that and the family until you have the cup in hand.

It’s scary to think that it’s been 13 years since Rangers last won the Scottish Cup. When I joined in the 1990-91 season, it was the same period as 1981.

I wasn’t aware of that when I came. This is what I was there for. I won the title in France but lost the cup final. I lost a final in Italy too, so it’s time to start collecting medals.

“Sausages and hamburgers,” Assistant Director Archie Knox said. This is what you want to smell as you run across the field holding the trophy. They need to get back to that sense of winning.

“Time to think on and off the field.”

Of course, Wednesday’s disappointment goes beyond what’s happening on the field.

I will say that the business model will change dramatically compared to what would have happened if the Champions League status associated with winning the Europa League had been claimed.

Now, Rangers have to go through two qualifying rounds to get there, which is no easy feat. If you want to get stronger and better, they have to add to what they already have. That is likely to change.

Players who want to keep them may have to go let Giovanni van Bronckhorst bring in his own player. But this is not the general mood.

Rangers are in a really good position now, but it could have been an exceptional situation. It’s time to reflect on and off the field, but there’s still another chance to show what it’s all about. They have to take it.

Mark Hatley was speaking to BBC Sport’s Scott Mullen.

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