GIOVANNI van Bronckhorst has admitted he is looking forward to pitting his wits against his former Netherlands team mate Ruud van Nistelrooy when Rangers take on PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League play-off.

And Van Bronckhorst has stressed that he sensed a burning desire to reach the group stages of Europe’s premier club competition in his players during their 3-0 win over Royale Union Saint-Gilloise at Ibrox last night.

The former Dutch internationalist was delighted with the Europa League finalists’ display as they came from 2-0 down in the second leg of the third qualifying round with the Eredivisie giants, who overcame Monaco after extra-time

“It is very important for us that we keep pushing for this moment,” he said. “We want to be in the Champions League. The desire to be in the Champions League? I saw that in my players.

"We needed a big performance. The pressure was on us, of course, because of the defeat we had last week. We know we are capable of producing big nights for the club, but still you have to do it over and over again. 

"That’s why I’m so proud in my players and the way they played, with passion, with desire, with fire to go to the next round. That’s the way you have to be on the pitch to create the atmosphere we created today with the fans. Again, it was an amazing night for all of us." 

Asked about the prospect of facing PSV, the former Feyenoord manager said: “Well, it is familiar, a familiar team for me. It will be great for me to see Ruud van Nistelrooy again. We have so many familiar faces on the bench.

“Fred Rutten, who I was assistant to at Feyenoord a couple of years ago as well,  and Andre Oojier who I played with in the national team. It’s a familiar place for me so it will be nice to be back in Holland for a couple of days after so many months in Glasgow.

“We are going to prepare well it is a big chance for us to take the last hurdle and be a team who can play Champions League this season.”

But Van Bronckhorst confessed that he feared the worst in the Union SG game when Rangers centre half James Sands was shown a second yellow card by Greek referee Anastasios Sidiropolous after his team had gone 3-0 ahead – and was relieved when the match official rescinded it.

“We knew that last week it wasn’t a penalty,” he said. “So that made it harder for us. Today I am just happy with the decisions of the ref. They went in our favour. There was one moment in the second-half with James Sands when I thought: ‘This could be a very important moment for the game’. It was good for us that he didn’t give the yellow card.”