Rangers captain vows to make Jimmy Bell proud v RB Leipzig as he shares fond memories
Rangers captain James Tavernier has paid tribute to late kit man Jimmy Bell ahead of Thursday’s Europa League semi-final clash with RB Leipzig (5 May).
Bell passed away yesterday (3 May) aged 69 after more than 30 years at the club, with tributes pouring in from Gers past and present, and chairman Douglas Ross commenting that the club were “absolutely devastated”.
Trailing 1-0 from the first leg in Germany, Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side need a big performance at Ibrox to reach a first European final in fourteen years.
At the pre-match press conference ahead of the game, via the club’s Twitter page, captain Tavernier paid tribute to Bell, saying: “It is obviously a devasting time for the club and everyone that knew Jimmy. It was really difficult to take.
“I know Jimmy wouldn’t want the fuss, he would want us to roll our socks up and get stuck in.
“Everyone will be ready to go from the first whistle. To do it for the club, for the fans and for Jimmy.
“I loved Jimmy to bits, he was one of the first people I met at the club. I asked him for the number two and he gave me stick for asking him.
“Jimmy would make me wear the same armband if we had won, unless it got too dirty we would come to an agreement!
“There are so many small details with Jimmy, before every game he would put my captain’s armband on. I will do everything in my power to make him proud.”
As if the atmosphere at Ibrox was not going to be heightened enough already with just the game, and the season, riding on it.
The passing of Bell will make it an emotional night whatever the final result, with players and fans alike wanting to give their all to pay tribute to him.
It sometimes goes under the radar what a crucial role in the every day workings of a club figures like Bell play, and the influence that has on the lives of the players.
Capping off this memorable European run by reaching the final and even lifting the trophy would be a fitting tribute to the devoted club servant.
But even if that proves too far for Tavernier and company, there is no doubt about the esteem he and countless others hold Bell.
With Kemar Roofe and Aaron Ramsey’s fitness still yet to be proven with a single training session remaining, it is going to be an uphill battle to overturn the deficit.
But under the lights at Ibrox, with the memory of their recently departed kit man to honour, it would be a brave person who bets against them.