Giovanni van Bronckhorst believes clinical striker Antonio Colak can help Rangers kill teams off this season after the Croatian scored for the third game in a row in the 4-0 win over St Johnstone.
Malik Tillman headed the home side into the lead in the 32nd minute of the cinch Premiership clash at Ibrox but Saints were hanging in until Colak, who had netted in previous games against Union Saint-Gilloise and Kilmarnock, drove in a second in the 62nd minute with late goals by substitutes Scott Arfield and Tom Lawrence making it three wins in a week.
As Alfredo Morelos continues his return to full fitness, Van Bronckhorst is pleased to see Colak already on the goal trail since joining from PAOK and ahead of the first leg of the Champions League play-off against PSV at Ibrox on Tuesday night.
“What we have to do a lot better than last year is don’t keep teams in the game,” said Van Bronckhorst, who is confident that missing Ryan Kent and James Sands will be back for Tuesday.
“That is the most important thing we have to do, especially at home.
“But also away, when you have the chance to make the second goal, the third goal. You have to take it.
“That’s why I’m really pleased with the desire we had today.
“So, yes, Antonio gives us the goals up front and if you compare it with last year, in the last months we didn’t have strikers.
“So I’m really pleased with Antonio, with his performances. Morelos back after five months, so he needs time to get stronger.
“But if we have him fully fit and ready to start games, you know we have a big squad to pick from.
“Especially up front, we have a lot of players who can play.”
Van Bronckhorst admits his friendship with PSV head coach Ruud van Nistelrooy and his assistant Fred Rutten will be set aside on Tuesday.
The Gers boss and Van Nistelrooy played together with the Netherlands and Van Bronckhorst was once assistant to Rutten at Feyenoord, but he knows a place in the Champions League is at stake.
He said: “It is a big game for us, for both teams because the group stage is at stake.
“It will be good to see Ruud again, it has been a while. He has good experience of PSV through the academy to the first team. It will also be good to see Fred Rutten.
“He was my head coach for one year at Feyenoord before I took over.
“We have been involved in football for many years, but when the whistle goes it’s game time and we need to make sure we do everything we can in the two games to go through.”
On Kent and Sands, the Dutchman said: “James wasn’t able to train yesterday because he felt a bit ill. He was much better today so he will be fine for Tuesday.
“Because Ryan played the 90 minutes on Tuesday, given that he’d been out for nine days, I thought this game was too soon for him to be involved. Hopefully we can get him fit for Tuesday.”
St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson was happy with most of his side’s work, and said: “It’s funny because for probably 75-80 minutes I was actually quite happy.
“In the first half I was quite pleased with our effort and our shape and how we went about our business.
“I thought we conceded a really sloppy goal. I didn’t feel Rangers opened us up too much.
“They’re a very good team and when you come here, you have to take your chances and give us something to play for in the game.
“When you concede the first one, then it becomes difficult – what do you do?
“I thought we performed well second half but I thought it was a poor second goal as well.
“It was two poor goals which led it to be comfortable for Rangers, which I didn’t think my lads deserved because I thought we put a lot into the game.”