Giovanni van Bronckhorst praised Antonio Colak after the striker continued his impressive start to his Rangers career with a first-half double in Saturday’s 4-0 win away to 10-man Hearts.
The Croatian took his tally to 11 goals in all competitions since joining from Malmo in the summer as he bagged his second brace in successive matches before Cammy Devlin’s dismissal. Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent added further goals late on to kill off the Jambos.
Van Bronckhorst told BBC Scotland: “He’s started his first season really well. I’m really happy for him to get two goals. That’s very positive and it’s also positive that Morelos and Ryan Kent were on the scoresheet because we need as many goals as we can get.
“It’s good to see different players on the scoresheet but I think Colak’s performance was really good. Apart from his goals, he is very important the way he puts energy in the team. He scored two goals in the last game also and today again. I’m really happy with him.”
Van Bronckhorst was delighted with the way Rangers seized control at Tynecastle, with Colak’s two goals in the opening half-hour taking the sting out of the hosts’ challenge.
“We started really well,” he said. “The first and second goal made it easier for us because it meant they had to come to us, which they did.
“After the red card we controlled the game and managed to score two more. We could have scored more but overall I’m really happy with the three points, four goals and the clean sheet.”
Van Bronckhorst could be seen talking to Devlin after the Hearts midfielder was sent off for catching Rabbi Matondo on the ankle with his studs.
“Rabbi was in a duel with his opponent (Alex Cochrane) and Devlin came in as a third man,” said Van Bronckhorst.
“I really like him as a player. I told him he doesn’t need challenges like this. He is one of their best players, he is a midfielder with dynamics. He’s a far better player than to use those tackles.”
Van Bronckhorst was pleased to gear up for Tuesday’s Champions League trip to Liverpool with such a convincing victory.
“The most important thing was to start this next block of fixtures towards the World Cup with a win,” he said.
“Anfield is going to be a big game in a fantastic stadium against a really tough side so this makes it a very positive way for us to travel to Liverpool.”
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson rued the red card which left his team with 10 men and 2-0 down before the break.
“When you play against good teams and you do that, leaving yourself 60 minutes against 11 men, it’s very difficult,” he said.
“Ultimately, the red card killed it. I think it is a red card. I’ve spoken to Cammy and he’s disappointed because he’s let the team down, he knows that.
“He’s been fantastic for us from day one, he’s just got his first international cap.
“He’s eager to do well and he’s got energy but there’s a line and there are areas of the pitch you don’t have to do that.
“Hopefully he’ll learn from it. He’s apologised to the players but it’s done, we’ve all been there.”