Nicola Sturgeon and Steven Gerrard react to Rangers booking £45m Europa League final spot

Rangers reach Europa League final after edging out RB Leipzig in Ibrox thriller

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A host of big names – including Nicola Sturgeon and Steven Gerrard – have lauded Rangers after they booked their spot in the Europa League Final. The reigning Scottish Premier League champions could stand to pocket more than £45million if they can go one further and defeat Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville later this month.

Rangers headed into Thursday’s crunch semi-final clash at Ibrox needing to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg, and a fifth minute strike from James Tavernier handed them a dream start. Glen Kamara doubled that lead 20 minutes later before Christopher Nkunku threatened to spoil the party by netting in the second half. But John Lundstram lifted the roof off of Ibrox by bagging an 80th minute winner to send the Gers into the final.

And the likes of Sturgeon and Gerrard were quick to congratulate Rangers on their stunning success against one of the tournament favourites. The First Minister posted: “Congratulations to Rangers FC on a fantastic achievement – good luck in the final!”

Meanwhile, Gerrard – who left Ibrox to join Aston Villa back in November – also tipped his hat to Giovanni van Bronkhorst’s team, posting: “Congratulations @rangersfc what a performance.”

Rangers have already amassed a handsome sum for their European exploits this term, but they could rake in an extra £7.3m if they manage to overcome Eintracht Frankfurt later this month – a figure that would take their total earnings from this season’s tournament to around £20m.

But they would stand to double that almost instantly by banking a direct spot into next year’s Champions League; the prize on offer to the Europa League victors. Rangers haven’t featured in the group stage of the Champions League for a decade – but they are now just one game away from ending that rotten run and raking in another bumper windfall.

The Gers would pocket an additional £25m in the Champions League, taking their total European earnings to £45m – but with ticket sales and merchandise also factored in, the total sum could still exceed £50m.

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After seeing his side battle back against the odds, Van Bronckhorst shared his pride on an “amazing night” after watching his side topple one of the tournament favourites at Ibrox to book a date with destiny.

He said: “It’s been an amazing night. We had the start we wanted, it was important to score first in this game. At half-time we knew it would be hard because they needed to push and they did. I knew the next goal would be decisive, John’s goal gave us the energy and power to play the closing minutes.

“I am very proud. The interaction with the fans was amazing. I have had so many games here as player and manager but the atmosphere here was incredible.”

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