Gio van Bronckhorst has insisted his Rangers squad is ready to roll next season as he shot back at suggestions the Ibrox side are nearing the end of their current cycle.
The Light Blues ensured they did not finish their rollercoaster ride of a campaign empty handed by lifting the Scottish Cup at Hampden.
But there are concerns among the Ibrox faithful that the 2-0 extra-time victory over Hearts was the last time they will see a string of stars in a Gers kit.
Veterans Allan McGregor – who was thrown on for the final minute for an apparent emotional swan song – and Steven Davis are out of contract, as are defenders Connor Goldson and Leon Balogun.
Loanees Aaron Ramsey and Amad Diallo are on the way back to their parent clubs while Ibrox chiefs will now need to make a decision on what happens next if they cannot persuade key men Alfredo Morelos, Ryan Kent and Joe Aribo to extend deals that expire in 12 months’ time.
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Ryan Jack and FIlip Helander are also approaching the last year of their agreements but with Jambos defender John Souttar set to lead a summer influx, Van Bronckhorst sees no reason to write off the bulk of a squad that came so agonisingly close to Europa League immortality in midweek.
He said: “You don’t come to the end of a cycle to be in a European final and win the Scottish Cup.
“We were fighting for the championship until the end.
“This team still has the desire and the hunger.
“Of course there will be some changes with some new personnel, some new players coming in.
“We have to be ready for the challenges we face next season.”
Goldson’s contract talks have been stalled for more than a year but appear no close to being resolved after van Bronckhorst admitted last week there was only a “small” chances of the 29-year-old former Brighton stopper agreeing fresh terms.
Now the Dutchman says he wants firm answers from his out-of-contract aces on their plans for next season as soon as possible so he can begin his own preparations for Gers’ Champions League bid.
Asked when those decisions would be made, he said: “Not too long because we have to move on as a club and as a team.
“Of course you want to have your team and your squad done as early as possible because we also have to play in Europe very quickly when the season begins.
“You want to have the strongest squad possible.”
Meanwhile, Balogun’s agent has moved to allay fears the defender is on his way.
Speaking after Saturday’s final, the German-born Nigeria international said: “I would love to stay. I hope they know that and I hope I can announce something soon.”
But his representative Dave Baldwin sparked alarm when he posted on Twitter: “What a way to sign off. Colossal @LeonBalogun.”
However, he quickly backtracked on that deleted Tweet and sent out a clarification which said: “Obviously some people don’t realise it is the end of the season!
“I’ll just rephrase it for some. What a way to end the season. Colossal @LeonBalogun.”