It was always going to be an emotional night at Ibrox. The tributes left to Fernando Ricksen at the gates of Ibrox continued to grow. For some fans, this was their first chance to mourn the loss of their former captain.
The noise at European games in Glasgow always rivals anything the rest of the continent has to offer and that was there for everyone to see and hear when the teams emerged from the tunnel.
- Fernando Ricksen remembered in Sky Sports documentary
But when it was time for the stadium to fall silent, both sets of supporters were impeccable in their appreciation and respect for Fernando Ricksen in a crowd of 46,858.
A man who could battle on the field as a player and off the field as he fought against motor neurone disease.
This was a man who won seven major trophies at the club and earned 12 caps for his native Netherlands. Fitting maybe that Rangers faced Dutch opposition in Feyenoord. The visiting supporters held up a banner, simple in its message, ‘RIP Fernando Ricksen’.
The volume was cranked up again as the game kicked off but as the game entered the second minute, Ricksen was still at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts. This time through a minute’s applause for the former No 2 along with the cry of ‘there’s only one Fernando Ricksen’.
That is true. He was a one-off and a character, the type of player you would love to have on your team and hate to play against.
Rangers had the chance to take the lead in the ninth minute from the penalty spot and, as if by fate, the regular penalty-taker is their current captain wearing the No 2 jersey also. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be as James Tavernier saw his effort hit the post and go wide.
The crowd did go wild on 23 minutes when Sheyi Ojo’s blistering strike from just inside the box beat Feyenoord ‘keeper Kenneth Vermeer. Rangers should have gone in further ahead at half time.
Just before the end of the half-time break, the PA system at Ibrox started playing ABBA’s Fernando, which was released in 1976, the year of Ricksen’s birth, as the fans joined in with the chorus.
Rangers had their chances in the second half but as their Dutch opponents started to push for an equaliser, they found Allan McGregor, a former team-mate of Ricksen, in fine form.
There was no doubt, he could hear the drum, Fernando. There was something in the air at Ibrox.
Rangers paid tribute the way they wanted to, by getting off to a winning start in the Europa League and dedicating it to their former captain.
1:23 Rangers manager Steven Gerrard and his squad paid tribute to the club's former midfielder Fernando Ricksen by laying a wreath outside Ibrox
‘It’s been an emotional 24 hours’
After the game, Rangers boss Steven Gerrard believed his side owed both the fans and Ricksen a performance to be proud of on an emotional night at Ibrox.
Gerrard said: “It has been an emotional 24 hours for everyone connected with the club so that put more pressure on the players.