PSV Eindhoven captain Luuk de Jong was full of praise for Rangers following Tuesday’s thrilling Champions League play-off tie at Ibrox. 

Almost one year to the day since Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Rangers held the Eredivisie giants to a 2-2 draw on home soil, the two clubs played out exactly the same scoreline once again in front of a feverish Ibrox crowd. 

PSV twice came from behind to ensure that things are all square heading into the second-leg in the Netherlands; the outstanding Ibrahima Sangare cancelling out Abdallah Sima’s stunner and Luuk de Jong doing the same late on after Cyriel Dessers’ wonderful pass set up Rabbi Matondo. 

Rangers v PSV Eindhoven - UEFA Champions League  Qualifying Play-Off: First Leg
Photo by Steve Welsh/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

De Jong, PSV’s veteran skipper, glanced home a trademark header with 80 minutes on the clock. And, by his own admission, Peter Bosz’s side had their work cut out away from home against a Rangers team who’s pace and physicality posed plenty of problems for their visitors. 

Rangers one step away from Champions League

“You know what their qualities are; punishing on the counter and small mistakes,” De Jong, once of Barcelona, Sevilla and Newcastle United, tells RTL. “They do that and they also score twice. We have to be better on our side, absolutely. After (Sangare’s equaliser) you actually have to run out and try to win. 

“I also have to compliment Rangers on how they did it, with the fans behind them. They just tried to make it a battle. Defensively, they try to give very little away.

“That is also a quality of theirs.”

Mick Beale’s Rangers are yet to truly hit their stride in 2023/24. But a couple of match-changing moments from a couple of summer signings will raise hopes that better days – and better performances – are just around the corner. 

Sima’s sublime curling finish was a reminder as to why he was on the radar of Manchester United after a brilliant breakthrough campaign at Slavia Prague. Dessers, meanwhile, went some way to winning over a sceptical Gers fanbase with a gorgeous pass for Matondo’s second-half effort.

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