GIOVANNI VAN BRONCKHORST paid tribute to one of the key characters in his career following the death of former Feyenoord mentor Wim Jansen.

The Dutchman passed away on Tuesday, aged 75, following a battle with dementia and he will be laid to rest later this week.

Jansen was Celtic manager when they stopped Rangers' bid for a historic tenth successive league flag in 1998 as he wrote his name in Parkhead folklore.

But it was back in his homeland where he had the most profound impact on Van Bronckhorst as he helped the man who would go on to captain his country take his first steps in the game.

And the Rangers boss has thanked Jansen for his guidance during those early days as he expressed his condolences to the friends and family of the former Netherlands internationalist.

Van Bronckhorst said: “Well, of course, it’s very sad. I was just having lunch when it came on the screen.

"I’m very sad to hear it, very sad to learn that Wim Jansen has gone. I’ve known the family for many years and I had Wim as an assistant when I was a player.

“I was telling the story while we had lunch to Ross Wilson, that he was the first coach I had as a youth player who let me train with players who were two, three years older than I was.

“He saw my potential when I was young and really helped me in my development as a player. I’ve got really good memories of Wim Jansen.

“He was an important player for the Dutch team, for Feyenoord, winning the European Cup in 1970, which is one of the biggest achievements of Feyenoord. It’s really sad to hear the news today."