the rages put their European disappointment behind them as they battled to a 2-0 extra-time win over Hearts to lift the Scottish Cup.
The Gers were devastated by their 5-4 penalty shootout loss in the Europa League final to Eintracht Frankfurt on Wednesday night and went into extra time again thanks to Craig Gordon’s save with his foot of Joe Aribo towards the end of the par. time in Hampden Park.
However, Rangers dug deep again and the Hearts goalkeeper couldn’t stop a Ryan Jack thunderbolt after 94 minutes before fellow substitute Scott Wright fired in a second three minutes later to bring the trophy at Ibrox for the first time since 2009.
Giovanni Van Bronckhorst won the cup while playing for Rangers in 2000 and won his first trophy as Ibrox manager after taking over from Steven Gerrard last November and it was well deserved.
Referee Willie Collum’s whistle punctuated the opening minutes and – amid a series of fouls – Hearts midfielder Peter Haring landed a booking for challenge defender Calvin Bassey.
In the tenth minute, on-loan Hearts striker Ellis Simms slid in to hit a Boyce cross against the outside of McLaughlin’s post and behind.
Rangers grew there and Arfield’s shot was saved by Gordon before winger Kent curled a shot wide, before Aribo’s header to the post close to a Bassey cross just didn’t enough contact to disturb the goalkeeper.
Diallo, for his part, got too much of Bassey’s cross moments later and the ball flew over the crossbar, leaving the first half scoreless.
In the 57th minute, Gordon raced from his goal to thwart Kent, who had latched onto a long ball from Diallo, who was quickly booked for a foul on Boyce before being substituted by Wright.
The prospect of extensions has strengthened.
Balogun headed a James Tavernier corner just overhead as Rangers finished strong and Gordon’s instinctive save with his foot on Aribo’s disc in the dying seconds was life-saving, before Wright hit the crossbar with a header from a free kick by Tavernier.
Aribo headed a cross from Bassey early in extra time but Jack’s strike from outside the box, after Halkett had cleared a corner, gave Gordon no chance as the ball went past him and came out of the crossbar.
Then, in a quick Gers break three minutes later, Wright took a well-weighted pass from Kent on the break and drilled a low shot past Gordon to once again spark wild scenes of joy in the blue half of the stadium.
Gordon saved from Rangers substitute Fashion Sakala in the second extra period before 40-year-old number one goalkeeper Allan McGregor took over from McLaughlin in the dying seconds, likely for a goodbye appearance.
Gordon had time to make further saves from Kent and Kamara, before the cup was adorned with blue, white and red ribbons for the first time in 13 years.
Additional PA Sport reporting.