Steven Davis still ‘proud’ despite Rangers’ Europa League final heartbreak

Northern Ireland international Steven Davis declared ‘I couldn’t be more proud of the lads, the staff, the fans’ following Europa League final penalty pain for Rangers last night against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Davis stepped off the substitutes’ bench in Seville and made his mark by converting during the penalty shoot-out - but Rangers’ dream of European glory ultimately finished in disappointment as the German opponents came out on top by 5-4.

Joe Aribo had put Rangers ahead in normal time before Eintracht forced extra-time and penalties off Rafael Borre’s equaliser, with the latter also converting the decisive spot-kick after Aaron Ramsey had his effort saved by Kevin Trapp.

Rangers midfielder Davis told BT Sport: “Once it goes to that stage of the game it’s a lottery. We were desperate to come here and send the fans home happy. They have been tremendous for us throughout the whole campaign. The boys have been tremendous. But it hurts tonight.

Rangers players dejected after losing the penalty shoot-out to Eintracht Frankfurt following the UEFA Europa League final at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan, Seville. Pic by PA.

“I really felt coming here into the game we would go on to win it, so it’s a major disappointment. But at the same time I couldn’t be more proud of all the lads, the staff, the fans, everyone associated with the club.”

John Lundstram told BT Sport he was left ‘heartbroken’.

“It’s a hard one to take, to lose on penalties,” he said. “In the 120 minutes both teams didn’t perform great. I thought we could’ve performed better. It’s heart breaking. We could’ve won it (in extra-time), but what a save (from Ryan Kent) - what can you do? I’m absolutely devastated. I’m so, so, so heartbroken.”

Rangers boss Giovanni Van Bronckhorst said: “Of course I’m very disappointed because you play the final, you are very close to winning silverware, and we were today as well.

“But in the end you don’t win and the emotions go from possible high to very low. I have had those moments in my career, losing big games, losing the World Cup final. It hurts.

“For now it’s up to us to look ahead. It feels difficult but we have to. We have a big game on Saturday against Hearts for the cup. But we are very, very disappointed.”