Rangers’ Scott Arfield will think of Craig Gowans and Chris Mitchell in Seville

That’s why Sevilla will mean so much to him – it will mean so much to a lot of people at Rangers.

The Europa League final will set the curtain on an emotional season at Ibrox, one of joy and sadness. One in which Rangers celebrated their 150th anniversary, the 50th anniversary of their last continental triumph, but also mourned the deaths of club legends Walter Smith, Jimmy Bell and 1972 winner Graham Fyfe.

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The showpiece will provide food for thought for those who are no longer able to witness the journey and witness the Eintracht Frankfurt final, where Arfield will pay his own personal tribute as he prepares for the occasion.

“Probably people who are no longer with us,” he replied when asked who he would be thinking of just before 8 p.m. on Wednesday. “My best buddy Mitch, [Chris Mitchell] since we started in 2007. Craig Gowans and his family, these people who have been with my journey since it began. And then obviously Rangers people.

“When I signed for this football club for four years, I knew what it means to the people and they are all there, everyone I care about will be in Seville and I will do it for them.”

Mitchell, who died in 2016, was an Arfield team-mate when they made their European debut with Falkirk against Liechtenstein’s Vaduz in 2009. Gowans, who died in 2005, was a youth team-mate whose squad number at Bairns Arfield has worn throughout his England and Ibrox career.

Using her memory and that of the recently lost club legends as inspiration and devotion, Arfield hopes Rangers can bring a silver finish to a season riddled with emotion.

Rangers’ Scott Arfield during a Cinch Premiership match between Celtic and Rangers. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

“I’m not superstitious, I used to be when I was younger. But I think there’s something in destiny or whatever people like to call it. Obviously it’s the club’s 50th and 150th anniversary and two club icons have passed this season.

“Hopefully by 11pm on Wednesday night it will all come to fruition and we will be talking about these things that are happening. There might be something to it.”

Arfield’s Europa League journey has come a long way since Liechtenstein in 2009, as has Rangers over the past five years, from the ignominy of Progres Niederkorn’s departure to the cusp of a trophy.

“I think we had to put that to bed and that’s what we did when we played them again and beat them,” added Arfield, who joined the club a year after the infamous Luxembourg defeat.

“The journey started four seasons ago against Shkupi and every time we got better we went through the different stages of the competition. I think we got better because different players came in.

“Did we think four years ago that we would reach the final? Probably not. But over the years and you see the players coming, we certainly felt like we could beat anyone.

“We’ve gotten stronger mentally and technically as a team and that’s got us to this stage, so it’s exciting, that’s for sure.”

https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/rangers/rangers-scott-arfield-will-have-craig-gowans-and-chris-mitchell-in-his-thoughts-in-seville-3697847 Rangers’ Scott Arfield will think of Craig Gowans and Chris Mitchell in Seville

Matthew Hallett

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