Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst insists he would not swap this season’s Champions League experience for the Europa League despite recording the worst group campaign in history.
The Ibrox side qualified for European football’s elite club competition for the first time in 12 years but found the step up too much.
They officially became the club with the worst Champions League record ever after their 3-1 defeat at home to Ajax on Tuesday night, which left them bottom of Group A with six straight defeats and a goal difference of -20.
Ahead of their Scottish Premiership match away to St Johnstone on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, van Bronckhorst reflected on this season’s very different European experience.
“Our dream was to be in the Champions League after 12 years,” he said.
“So when you work hard to try to achieve that, which we did (qualifying) against PSV, you are very proud of the achievement but you also know it is not the Europa League you are playing in, it is the Champions League.
“Success always brings expectation and especially when you go up a level, the expectation will still be there and that’s why you will have the games we had in Europe with big defeats.
“But that is part of the game. I wouldn’t have changed anything that happened this year for my team and their experience.
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“Once you can qualify for the Champions League you want your players to do that and we did.
“We qualified for the first time in 12 years for the Champions League so that is a very big compliment to my players to achieve that.
“It was not an easy qualification round with Union and PSV so that is what you want, to get the maximum out of the games.
“There is no discussion for me to say the Champions League level is too high, we are not going to try to reach the Champions League. It is impossible.
“I have been playing in the best clubs in Europe competing for the highest prizes and, as a coach, I want the same.”
Colak: I’m motivated for more success
Rangers striker Antonio Colak’s scoring form has seen him named Scottish Premiership player of the month for September and October.
The Croat netted seven goals, taking his tally so far this season to 14 goals in 22 appearances across all competitions.
The 29-year-old, who is the Scottish Premiership’s current top scorer, has been named in Croatia’s preliminary World Cup squad.
“It’s a big thing for me, especially after this short period of time here at Rangers,” he said.
“The most important thing is to play and score goals and it’s a big award for me and motivates me to get more.
“I’m in the preliminary World Cup squad and I knew that only with my games for the club I could reach this target.
“Next week I will know if I am going, but it’s already a big honour to be there. I try to give everything in every game and I hope the national team coach will recognise that.”
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