Rangers' Scott Arfield will have Craig Gowans and Chris Mitchell in his thoughts in Seville

Scott Arfield has been through it all in the Europa League, from Progres Niederkorn to RB Leipzig – and even before it, at Vaduz with Falkirk.

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

The Europa League Final will prepare the curtain call on an emotional season at Ibrox tinged with joy and sadness. One where Rangers celebrated their 150th year, the 50th anniversary of their last continental triumph but mourned the passing of club legends Walter Smith, Jimmy Bell and 1972 winner Graham Fyfe.

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The showpiece will give a point for reflection of those no longer able to share the journey and witness the Eintracht Frankfurt final where Arfield will pay his own personal tributes as he prepares for the occasion.

“Probably people who are no longer with us,” he replied when asked who would be in his thoughts just before 8pm on Wednesday. “My best mate Mitch, [Chris Mitchell] from when we started in 2007. Craig Gowans and his family, these people who were in my journey when it started. And then obviously Rangers people.

"When I signed at this football club for four years I knew what it meant to people and they are all there, everybody that is important to me is going to be in Seville and I’ll be doing it for them.”

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

With their memory, and that of the club legends recently lost used as inspiration and dedication, Arfield hopes Rangers can put a silver finish to a season strewn with emotion.

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

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

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

Arfield’s Europa League journey has come a long way since Liechtenstein in 2009 but so has Rangers’ in the past five years, from ignominy of the Progres Niederkorn exit to the cusp of a Cup.

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

“The journey started four seasons ago against Shkupi and every time we’ve got better, going through the different stages of the competition. I think we have got better with different sorts of players coming in.

“Four years ago did we think we were going to get to the final? Probably not. But as the years go on and you see the players come in we certainly felt that we could beat anybody.

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



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