History of Rangers FC

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    • Past managers - Walter Smith

      Walter Smith grew up in Carmyle as a true blue Rangers supporter. So, after a modest playing career, it was almost beyond his belief that one day he would not only manage the club, but take them to their record-equalling run of Nine-In-A-Row Championships.

      Smith joined Dundee United as a part-timer, playing as a defender in the 1960s while finishing his apprenticeship as an electrician.

      He was, in his own words, an average professional and had a brief spell with Dumbarton before returning to Tannadice.

      At the age of 29, a pelvic injury threatened his career and he was invited to join the Dundee United coaching staff by manager Jim McLean. He still continued to play in reserve team games and one of his team-mates was the young Richard Gough - later to be Smith's captain at Ibrox.

      He became coach of the Scotland youth team and had been appointed assistant manager at Dundee United by the time they won their first Championship in 1982-83.

      Graeme Souness brought Smith to Ibrox as his No.2 in 1986 and together they shared three League titles. When Souness quit with just five games to go in the 1990-91 season, Smith took the reins and continued the successful run.

      He began to introduce his own players. Goalkeeper Andy Goram was his first signing, followed by Stuart McCall. Later, there would be international superstars such as Brian Laudrup and Paul Gascoigne. But the player who perhaps best symbolised the Smith years was Ally McCoist.

      Super Ally had often sat on the substitutes bench when Souness was manager. Smith showed such faith in him that McCoist twice won the Golden Boot as Europe's leading goal scorer.

      In his first full season in charge, Smith did the League and Cup Double. The next season he went one better and won the Treble.

      During that Treble season of 1992-93, Rangers didn't lose for seven months. They went 44 games without defeat in all competitions, including a dazzling 10-match run in the European Champions' League, and came within 90 minutes of reaching the European Cup Final.

      Smith's greatest achievement, however, was completing the Nine-In-A-Row Championships in 1996-97, which equalled Celtic's record. By coincidence, the ninth title was won at Tannadice against Dundee United where Smith had started his career.

      During the Summer, Smith decided he would retire at the end of the next season. His decision was made public at the Rangers annual general meeting in October 1997.

      Rangers, desperate to make it Ten-In-A-Row, finished runners-up in the Championship. But no Rangers manager has ever won so many trophies in such a short spell as Walter Smith, who was awarded the OBE for his services to football.

      After an emotional farewell, Smith became manager of Everton.
    • Past Managers - Dick Advocaat

      Dick Advocaat became only the tenth manager in the history of Rangers when he succeeded Walter Smith on June 1, 1998.

      The former PSV Eindhoven boss arrived with a fearsome coaching reputation, however, Advocaat's playing career began at the relatively late age of 23, when he signed for Den Haag as a midfield general.

      Dick spent three years at the club before moving on to Breda before joining Berlo then in 1980 he moved on to America, where he signed for National Soccer League Chicago Sting.

      In 1982 he took his first steps into coaching, with Dutch amateur side DVSP. Two years later the Advocaat was appointed assistant manager to Rinus Michels with the Dutch national team. Then in 1987, he was appointed manager of the Haarlem club but only spent two years there before joining ex-Celt Wim Jansen at Dordrecht.

      In 1992, Advocaat took over from Michels as national boss and led the side to the quarter-finals of the 1994 World Cup. After the U.S. success he joined PSV Eindhoven and took them to the 1996 Dutch championship and the Dutch Cup ending the dominance of Amsterdam giants Ajax.

      When Walter Smith announced his decision to leave the search was on to find a high-profile replacement and Dick was the man.

      His first signing was his former skipper at PSV, Arthur Numan and other big names followed such as Andrei Kanchelskis, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst and Colin Hendry.

      In his glorious first year in charge the Little General led the team to the domestic treble and that was no mean feat considering he had completely changed the team. Legends like Ian Durrant, Ally McCoist, Richard Gough, Brian Laudrup, Andy Goram and Stuart McCall were all gone so Dick's achievement was truly remarkable.

      Advocaat led the team to Celtic Park to clinch his first SPL title on May 2 1999 and two goals from Neil McCann and a penalty from Jorg Albertz sealed the victory in front of the joyous 7,000 away supporters.

      Earlier in the season he had secured his first trophy, the League Cup, by beating St Johnstone 2-1 at Celtic Park with goals from Stephane Guivarc'h and Jorg Albertz.

      And Rod Wallace made it a Treble with the only goal of the game in the Tennent's Scottish Cup Final against Celtic. The Rangers punters simply lapped it up.

      In the next year Rangers secured a domestic double beating Celtic to the title by a record 21 points and crushing Aberdeen 4-0 in the Scottish Cup Final. However, Martin O'Neill arrived at Parkhead the following season and halted Rangers' dominance.

      Even although things were tough on the domestic front, Dick guided Gers to the last 16 of the UEFA Cup in the 2001/02 season then announced he was stepping down as manager.

      The Dutchman would stay on as Director of Football and was instrumental in the appointment of Alex McLeish in December 2002, but Dick's legacy will be the creation of Murray Park.

      Rangers opened their state of the art training facility on July 1, 2001 and the training ground has already helped nurture top team talent like Chris Burke, Alan Hutton, Stephen Hughes, Bob Malcolm, Mo Ross, Allan McGregor and Steven MacLean.

      Dick quit Rangers for good in November 2002 to take the Holland national job on a full-time basis and although many supporters were critical of his final days at the club it is important to remember his early success and, above all, the creation of Murray Park!
    • Past Managers - Alex McLeish

      Alex McLeish became the sixth Rangers manager to deliver a Treble when he swept the boards in fantastic style in season 2002/03 - his first full season in charge.

      He had become Rangers boss on December 11, 2001 and intitially worked in association with Dick Advocaat who became Director of Football. McLeish seemed to encourage performances out of a squad that had under-achieved and his success was instant.

      He tasted victory in his first Old Firm match, the CIS Cup semi-final, and that set up a first trophy success when Ayr United were beaten in the final. McLeish followed that with a sensational Scottish Cup triumph, beating Celtic 3-2 in an epic match.

      Despite limited resources on the transfer front, he stormed to a clean sweep in 2003 beating Celtic in the CIS Cup Final, Dundee in the Scottish Cup Final and clinching the SPL Title - Rangers' 50th league crown - on goal difference from Gers' great Parkhead rivals in an incredible final day shoot-out.

      The break up of that team made life difficult for McLeish in season 2003/04 although the team started brightly with seven league wins and qualification to the Champions League.

      The following season, however, was remarkable. Rangers defeated Celtic en route to a 5-1 CIS Cup Final drubbing of Motherwell and then they won the the title on the final day for the second tome in three years.

      Celtic's unlikely flop at Fir Park coupled with Rangers' win at Easter Road meant that the helicopter changed direction and delivered the SPL trophy with red, white and blue ribbons to the Leith ground.

      A burning desire to succeed in Europe convinced McLeish to have another crack in 2005/06. Domestically, Rangers struggled over the winter period but the marvellous achivement of reaching the last 16 of the Champions League was the highlight of the campaign.

      McLeish had already decided that it would be his last season as manager and the announcement was made in February 2006.

      He left with a proud record of seven trophies in four and a half years.

      McLeish had started his managerial career at Motherwell in 1994, after an illustrious career with Aberdeen which included winning the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1983 and 77 international caps.

      His first season in charge at Fir Park proved to be successful as the Lanarkshire outfit finished second to Rangers in the Premier League.

      However, the subsequent years proved to be a bit of a struggle in an attempt simply to maintain the club's status with the big boys.

      The Well fans took Big Eck to their hearts and firmly believed they had one of Scotland's top managers in the making.

      Therefore they were devastated in February 1998 when he announced he was heading for Edinburgh to take charge of a Hibs squad in a dire position.The Hibees were fighting relegation and it was widely regarded that even the recruitment of McLeish couldn't halt the slide.

      And so it proved as the Easter Road men dropped down to Division One that summer. But McLeish wasted no time in taking them back up to what was now known as the SPL.

      His recruitment of high-profile stars like Franck Sauzee and future Ibrox star Russell Latapy for very little cash earned him a reputation for being shrewd and calculated in his actions.

      And his dismissal of Latapy from Easter Road in April 2001 after a well-publicised night out ensured McLeish was not a man to be messed with.

      It was these qualities that attracted the attention of Dick Advocaat and David Murray as they searched for a new man to run the Rangers team.

      And they eventually got him on December 11, 2001 as he moved from Leith to Govan to undertake his biggest challenge ever.
    • Past Managers - Paul Le Guen

      Paul Le Guen was unveiled as the 12th Rangers manager in the summer of 2006 replacing Alex McLeish at the helm but left on January 4, 2007 after just 31 matches in charge.

      Born in Pencran, Brittany, Le Guen joined local first division side Brest in 1983 and made his professional debut a year later. He was highly successful with Paris Saint-Germain, winning he European Cup Winners' Cup in 1996.

      As a coach he started with Rennes and was then tremendously with Olympique Lyon winning three consecutive French titles. Unfortunately it did not work for him at Rangers.

      The highligh of Paul Le Guen's turbulent Rangers career was undoubtedly qualification to the last 32 of the UEFA Cup.

      While results and performances on the domestic front were not up to standard, on the European stage Le Guen was undefeated and very successful.

      The massive gap between Rangers and Celtic in the SPL at the time of his departure and defeats by the likes of Invereness, twice, Falkirk and Dundee United were simply not acceptable to the supporters.

      The shock defeat by St Johnstone in the CIS Cup on November 8 was perhaps the lowest moment for the Frenchman, as Rangers exited a cup competition at home to a lower league side for the first time in their history.

      However, in the UEFA Cup Rangers were a far more successful side under Le Guen.

      Although not hugely impressive against Molde in round one, they beat them 2-0 at Ibrox after a goal-less draw in Norway to secure a place in the Group and there they did really well.

      Rangers won on Italian soil for the first time when Livorno were beaten 3-2, Maccabi Haifa were beaten 2-0 at Ibrox and progression was assured with a battling 2-2 draw in France against Auxerre. Victory in the group was then confirmed with a 1-0 home win over Partizan Belgrade.

      It means that whoever takes over has European football to look forward to in February with a last 32 tie against Hapoel Tel Aviv with either Bordeaux or Osasuna lying in wait in the last 16.

      However, it is largely in the SPL that every manager is judged and Le Guen's record of 11 wins, six defeats and six draws is not one he will be happy with.

      These results have left Rangers 17 points behind their great rivals with 15 matches to go and with Aberdeen and Hearts snapping at their heels.

      It all started brightly enough with a sparkling performance in the sunshine at Fir Park when Rangers won 2-1 and played some highly attractive football.

      A couple of stumbles against Dundee United and Dunfermline were disappointing but seen as teething troubles, especially when Hearts were beaten 2-0 at Ibrox in what was easily one of the best performances under his management.

      Consistency in the league, however, was something that Rangers could not produce under the Frenchman, who arrived with an impeccable CV from three championship-winning seasons in France with Lyon.

      It looked as though the side was beginning to hit the right rhythm with a great 3-0 win over Hibs an impressive performance in the 1-1 draw with Celtic and then a great 2-1 away win at Pittodrie.

      However a nightmarish 2-1 loss in Inverness on December 27 followed by a 1-1 draw with First Division champions St Mirren showed that consistency was still an issue.

      Le Guen's last match was the January 2 1-0 win over Motherwell which was played against the massive backdrop of his decision to strip Barry Ferguson of the captaincy and drop him from the team.

      Two days later and he parted company with Rangers taking assistant Yves Colleu, physio Joel Le Hir and fitness coach Stephane Wiertelak with him.
    • 1872-1898 - The Birth Of The Blues

      Four young men shared a dream - to start a football club. They had no money, no kit - not even a ball.

      Yet from such humble beginnings emerged the most famous of all Scottish football clubs - Rangers FC.

      None of those four men could have forseen what was to happen when they met in 1872.

      They cared only for having their own team, never daring to think that more than a century later their club would have won so many glittering prizes and would be followed by millions throughout the world.

      All those championships and cups would never have found their way into the Ibrox Trophy Room but for that encounter between Peter McNeil, his brother Moses, Peter Campbell and William McBeath.

      Their first match was an unlikely affair against Callander FC at Flesher's Haugh on Glasgow Green.

      The pitch was open to all-comers, so to claim it for your game you had to make sure you were there first. The home team played in street clothes, with the exception of four "guests" who, as they were members of other clubs, already had their own strips. The ball was second-hand.

      The result was 0-0, but that didn't matter. Rangers had been born.

      The name Rangers was adopted from an English rugby club. By their second fixture - the only other they played that first year - they had donned the light blue. It must have done the trick - Rangers beat Clyde 11-0.

      Despite this promising start, as every fan knows the official founding of the club did not take place until the following year.

      The date of 1873 is recognised because that was the year when the club had their first annual meeting and officers were elected. Rangers were becoming businesslike. The players had formal training sessions and a fixture list was drawn up.

      The fixtures during that first full season were friendlies. Rangers had left it too late to apply for membership of the Scottish Football Association and were not eligible to play in the inaugural Scottish Cup, won by Queen's Park.

      The team was very much a family affair. The McNeils were joined by a third brother, Hugh and there were two more Campbell brothers and two Vallances.
      By 1876 Rangers had their first international, Moses McNeil one of the four founders, who made his Scotland debut in a 4-0 victory over Wales.

      The following year Rangers made the breakthrough reaching their first Scottish Cup Final. It took three matches to find a winner, and sadly it was their opponents Vale of Leven. After two drawn games, 0-0 and 1-1, Rangers finally succumbed 3-2 in the second replay.

      Two years later in 1879 they were back in the Final with a chance of revenge, for they were facing the same opponents. The match ended 1-1, but Rangers were so incensed by a disallowed goal that they refused to turn up for the replay and Vale of Leven were awarded the Cup.

      Rangers were to wait a decade before they could celebrate their first senior honours, though they came pretty close to winning the FA Cup - yes, the ENGLISH FA Cup. In 1887 they reached the semi-final of that competition only to lose to eventual Cup winners Aston Villa.

      The series of fixtures that were to become known as the Old Firm games began the next year. Rangers met Celtic in a friendly in May 1888 - and lost 5-2.

      Season 1890-91 saw the start of the Scottish League Championship. By then Rangers had arrived at Ibrox, via Burnbank and Kinning Park.

      What a season it was. Rangers first League game was played on August 16 1890 and resulted in a 5-2 victory over Hearts. By the end of that first season, Rangers had played 18 games, winning 13, drawing three and losing just two. There had been crushing victories (8-2 and 7-3 over St Mirren and 6-2 over Cambuslang).

      But one of their defeats had been against Celtic (2-1 away) and the other was at Dumbarton (5-1) with whom they shared top place with 29 points each.

      A play-off took place at Cathkin to decide the title. Rangers took a 2-0 lead, but allowed Dumbarton back into the game. It was 2-2 as the final whistle went and the Championship was shared for the only time in its history.

      In those early days, Rangers were becoming the nearly men, finishing runners-up in the League in 1892-93, 1895-96 and 1896-97.

      But at least they had made it third time lucky in the Scottish Cup Final in 1894. And how sweet a victory it was - a 3-1 defeat of Celtic.

      Two more Cup Final triumphs followed, Rangers hammering Dumbarton 5-1 in 1897 and retaining the trophy by beating Kilmarnock 2-0 the next year.

      Rangers were on their way to pre-eminence in Scottish football.
    • 1898-1918 In A League Of Their Own

      Since they shared the first League Championship with Dumbarton in 1890-91, Rangers had never finished lower than fifth in the table. Now they stood on the threshold of greatness.

      For not only were they to win their first Championship outright. They were also to achieve a feat which has been beyond every other club side in the world.

      Rangers, under the watchful eye of their match secretary William Wilton, uniquely won every single League game in the 1898-99 season.

      Eighteen games, eighteen victories, a maximum 36 points. They scored 79 goals at an average of more than four a game, conceding just 18.

      Runners-up Hearts were 10 points adrift in the days when a victory was worth only two.

      Rangers began with a 6-2 annihilation of Partick Thistle.
      The captain Robert Hamilton, who still holds the club record for Old Firm matches with 32 goals against Celtic, scored a hat-trick.

      Hamilton, a schoolmaster, was to find the net a further 18 times that season.

      With 10 straight victories under their belt, Rangers' away game at Hibernian was the crunch. Hibs were being touted as the only serious rivals for the title and looked like it when they took a 2-0 lead.

      Rangers squared the game in the second-half then conceded another goal. As the match see-sawed, Hamilton came to the rescue to make it 3-3.

      With just seconds to go, Rangers were awarded a penalty. Up stepped Neil to ram the ball home. They had won with the last kick of the match.

      Rangers inflicted some devastating scorelines on their opponents. Clyde were beaten 8-0 and the Championship was wrapped up with a 7-0 humiliation of Dundee.

      With four games left, the only question was could Rangers continue to be invincible? Next up were Hibernian at Ibrox on Christmas Eve.

      There were to be no Christmas gifts from Rangers. Hibs, the team who had been spoken of as title rivals and who had run them so close at Easter Road, were demolished 10-0, still their record defeat.

      In the end, everything hung on the last match away to Clyde in January. Conditions were icy, but Rangers won 3-0 to achieve an incredible perfect League season.

      However Celtic, who finished third and had been polished off with 4-0 and 4-1 defeats, were to thwart Rangers' dreams of the Cup.

      In the Scottish Cup Final, Rangers had an early goal disallowed for offside and Celtic took the trophy 2-0. Rangers would have to wait 29 years to do the League and Cup Double.

      Wilton was rewarded with his appointment as the Club's first Manager as Rangers formally became a business company. Rangers Football Club Limited was established in March 1899 and appointed its first board of directors under the chairmanship of James Henderson.

      Later that year they moved to New Ibrox - site of the present stadium - just up the road from the old ground where they had played since 1887.

      This increasingly professional approach by the club paid handsome dividends. Rangers retained the title for the next three seasons making it Four-In-A-Row.

      These momentous times were marred, though, by the first of Ibrox's tragedies. A section of the western terracing collapsed during a Scotland v England match in 1902. Twenty five people died and 500 were injured.
    • 1919-1939 A Glorious Double

      The season of 1919-20 was a golden one for Rangers. The previous term they had been pipped for the title by just one point by Celtic. Now they were ready to reassert themselves.

      They won 31 of their 42 League games, drawing nine and losing just two. But it was the manner of those victories that impressed. Rangers scored 106 goals and conceded just 25.

      A vital factor had been the emergence of a man who had joined the club in 1914 as trainer. His name was William Struth.

      Together, manager William Wilton and right-hand man Struth began a period of Rangers domination that was to last until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.

      Sadly, Wilton was not to enjoy this extraordinary success which saw Rangers take the title 15 times in 21 seasons. With the Championship back at Ibrox, Wilton - the club's first manager - died the day after the last game of the season in May 1920, drowning in a boating accident.

      Struth, who was appointed his successor, lived to become a legend. He managed the club for 34 years, winning a glittering array of trophies - 18 League Championships, 10 Scottish Cups and two League Cups.

      And one player in his squad created a curious record. James Gordon, who was with Rangers from 1910 until 1930, became the only player ever in British football to appear for his club in all positions from goalkeeper to the old-fashioned outside left.

      By the time the 1927-28 season came round, Rangers had already won the title five times during the seven seasons that Struth had been in the hot seat. And this was to be their best yet. The year they won their first Double.

      Rangers, the current Champions, showed their mettle from the start, winning their first six League games. Some victories were sweeter than others. Rangers shared the spoils with Celtic - each team winning at home 1-0 - but their 7-2 triumph at Airdrie was their first success there in six years.

      Rangers set themselves a new League goals record, finishing with 109 as they won 28 of their 36 games, drawing eight and losing four.

      Meanwhile, Rangers were making confident progress in the Cup which they hadn't won since 1903.

      They cruised through the first round, winning 6-0 at East Stirling. Home victories followed over Cowdenbeath (4-2) and King's Park (3-1). Then a 1-0 defeat of Albion Rovers away put them into the semi-finals against Hibernian.

      The match, played at Tynecastle, was a comfortable 3-0 victory for Rangers with goals from Archibald and Fleming plus an own goal by Hibernian's Wiseman.

      A record crowd of 118,115 packed into Hampden for the Final against Celtic and a goalless first-half gave no clue to the drama that was to come.

      Early in the second-half a Rangers shot was punched off the line by Celtic defender Willie McStay. Penalty!

      Skipper Davie Meiklejohn - not a normal penalty taker - stepped up and made it 1-0. Bob McPhail scored the second and Sandy Archibald made it three with a blistering long-range shot.

      With five minutes to go, Archibald drove the final nail into Celtic's coffin. Rangers' arch-rivals had been vanquished 4-0 and the Scottish Cup was back at Ibrox for the first time in a quarter of a century.

      There was no rest for the heroic boys in blue. Within three days they were facing Kilmarnock in the League. It was a walkover. The score was 5-1, the title was theirs. Rangers had achieved the Double at last.

      It didn't stop there. Rangers retained the Championship for the next three seasons making it Five-In-A-Row and won four more titles (1932-33, 1933-34, 1936-37 and 1938-39) before the outbreak of war.

      By now Rangers were making up for lost time in the Cup. Having gone so long without leaving much of an impression, they were to lift it six times in nine years. There were further Final victories in 1930 (Partick 2-1 after a 0-0 draw), 1932 (Kilmarnock 3-0 after a 1-1 draw), 1934 (a 5-0 thrashing of St Mirren), 1935 (Hamilton 2-1) and 1936 (Third Lanark 1-0).

      Even the Double, which had eluded them for so long, was becoming easy for Rangers with the victorious teams of 1930 and 1934 making it three in seven years.

      There were a few disappointments, perhaps the strangest being in the 1931-32 season when Rangers scored their record number of League goals - 118 in 38 matches - yet finished runners-up in the Championship to Motherwell. Soon they were to score 118 in a season again - but this time it was in that Double year of 1933-34.

      The Thirties provided an almost unbroken period of fabulous success for Rangers, highlighted by yet another record in the last Old Firm League match at Ibrox before the war.

      On January 2nd 1939, the biggest crowd ever to watch a League football match in the British Isles turned out for the traditional holiday fixture with Celtic. Ibrox was bursting at the seams as 118,567 fans crammed in to watch Dave Kinnear and Alex Venters give Rangers a 2-1 win.

      Within months, however, players and fans would be uniting to face a common enemy, fighting against Hitler's Germany. The Scottish Championship was suspended, though clubs continued to play in regional leagues.

      Rangers won all their wartime competitions in the Southern Regional League - including one match in which they gave Celtic an 8-1 beating.

      When Scottish League football returned in the winter of 1946, William Struth would still be in command at Ibrox and Rangers would maintain their winning ways.
    • 1946-1970 An Historic Treble

      After the end of the Second World War, Rangers played host to Moscow Dynamo who wound up a four-match British tour at Ibrox in November 1945. Dynamo had drawn 3-3 with Chelsea and beaten Cardiff 10-1 and Arsenal 4-3.

      The Russians scored after three minutes and when Willie Waddell missed a penalty for Rangers it looked like Dynamo would come out on top. But Rangers fought back and held them to a 2-2 draw, despite the fact that the visitors had 12 players on the pitch at one point!

      When normal League football returned to Scotland in the winter of 1946-47, it was with a difference. A new competition had been devised, the Scottish League Cup.

      Rangers, still under the guidance of long-serving manager William Struth, won the first Final, beating Aberdeen 4-0. They also picked up where they had left off in 1939 by winning the first post-war Championship.

      It was as if nothing had changed, and yet there was better to come. A 1-0 victory in a replayed Scottish Cup Final against Morton in 1948 was followed by the greatest season up to then in Rangers' history.

      In 1948-49, Rangers became the first team to win the League, the Scottish Cup, and the League Cup in one season. It was the first glorious treble in Scottish football.

      In those days, the early stage of the League Cup was played in sections and it looked odds on that Celtic, in the same group as Rangers, would come out on top. That is until Celtic, amazingly, contrived to let in six goals at home to Clyde.

      The upshot was that Rangers' final section game against Celtic would decide who would go through. A crowd of 105,000 packed into Ibrox to watch the cliffhanger. Goals from Billy Williamson and Waddell gave Rangers a 2-1 win and pitted them against St Mirren in the quarter-final.

      A 1-0 victory and a 4-1 romp over Dundee in the semi set Rangers up for a League Cup Final appearance against Raith Rovers in the Spring. A 2-0 win meant Rangers had completed the first leg.

      Rangers path in the Scottish Cup was much more comfortable. They reached the Final with easy victories over Elgin, Motherwell, Partick and then East Fife in the semi, scoring 17 goals and conceding just one.

      The Final itself proved no difficulty, Rangers seeing off Clyde 4-1. One curiosity emerged from the match. Williamson, who had scored the winning goal in the previous season's Final, again found the net, giving him the remarkable record of having played in only two Scottish Cup games, both of them Finals, and scoring on both occasions.

      The second leg of the treble was now safely at Ibrox, but the odds on them winning the Championship seemed stacked against Rangers. The race for the title had been a titanic struggle between Rangers and Dundee. Rangers had enjoyed an unbeaten run of 12 games but couldn't shake off their rivals.

      It was going down to the wire and, on the last day of the season, Dundee needed a draw at Falkirk to seal it. Surely they wouldn't slip up?

      Rangers did all that they could with Willie Thornton scoring a hat-trick as they won 4-1 at Albion Rovers. But the news from Brockville Park was astonishing.

      Dundee had crashed 4-1. The title and the Treble belonged to Rangers. History had been made.

      Much of Rangers success in the post-war years was based on the quality of their defence which was known as "The Iron Curtain".

      Bobby Brown didn't miss a game in goal from the start of the 1946-47 season until April 1952. Full backs George Young and Jock Shaw stood behind an uncompromising half-back line of Ian McColl, Willie Woodburn and Sammy Cox.

      McColl had succeeded Scot Symon, who was to write his name in the record books by becoming Rangers' third manager in 1954.

      Struth was to collect two more League and Cup Doubles in 1949-50 and 1952-53 and among Symon's six Championships, five Cups and four League Cups, he did the Double in 1962-63 and then emulated Struth by claiming the Club's second Treble in 1963-64.

      Symon, incidentally, was the first man to play both football and cricket for Scotland, a feat matched by future Rangers goalie Andy Goram in 1989.

      Rangers won 25 of their 34 League games during that Treble year, losing just four. They achieved the double over Celtic, but surprisingly lost at home and away to St Johnstone.

      The League Cup was secured with a 5-0 victory over Morton in the Final and Rangers beat Dundee 3-1 to lift the Scottish Cup.

      It was to be 11 seasons before Rangers would be Champions again. Worse still, Celtic were to win nine consecutive titles during that time.

      But there were compensations. Rangers won the League Cup twice (1964-65 and 1970-71) and the Scottish Cup in 1966. On all three occasions they defeated Celtic in the Final.

      European competition also beckoned. Rangers had first played in the European Cup in 1956-57, when they had gone out to Nice after a first round play-off, and in 1960 they reached the semi-final, losing to Eintracht Frankfurt.

      But in 1961 they became the first Scottish side to reach a European Final when they contested the Cup Winners' Cup against Fiorentina, going down 4-1 on aggregate over two legs.

      By 1967 Rangers had reached the Cup Winners' Cup Final again only to face another disappointment, losing by the only goal of the game in extra time to Bayern Munich.

      Season 1967-68 saw Davie White installed as Rangers' fourth manager. They lost just one League game in his first term - 3-2 at home to Aberdeen - yet could finish only runners-up to Celtic for the title.

      White was dismissed after little more than two years and Rangers turned to former Ibrox star Willie Waddell as their fifth manager in 1969.

      Waddell was to make up for those disappointments with Rangers' first European prize. He also won the Scottish League Cup in 1970-71 when a young lad called Derek Johnstone scored the only goal to beat Celtic.
      But Waddell also had to endure the gravest event in Rangers' history which was about to engulf the Club.
    • The 1971 Ibrox Disaster

      It was the afternoon of the Old Firm game, Rangers v Celtic at Ibrox, Saturday January 2 1971.

      The match was heading for a 0-0 draw when Jimmy Johnstone broke the deadlock to give Celtic the lead in the 89th minute.

      Then, with just seconds left on the clock, Colin Stein snatched a dramatic equaliser for Rangers.

      The blue section of the 80,000 all-ticket crowd went wild with delight. The green was thrown into despair.

      Two goals in a minute. What a finish! Yet, unseen amid this sea of emotions, a disaster was beginning to unfold at the Rangers end of the ground over on the East terrace at Staircase 13.

      As the fans swayed away from the heaving mass, some stumbled halfway down the steep steps. Those around didn't see them fall and continued their descent.

      Suddenly a tidal wave of fans was engulfed in a terrifying crush. Steel barriers crumpled under the impact.

      When the carnage cleared, 66 people had lost their lives and more than 140 lay injured.

      Among the dead were 31 teenagers. The youngest victim was a boy of nine, Nigel Pickup, who had travelled to the game from Liverpool.

      One woman was among the fatalities. Margaret Ferguson, an 18-year-old from Maddiston near Falkirk, had made a doll for the baby daughter of Rangers centre-forward Stein - the man who scored the late equaliser - and had delivered it to his home just before Christmas.

      Five schoolboy pals, four of whom lived in the same street, had gone to the game together from the small town of Markinch in Fife. The five, all members of Glenrothes Rangers Supporters Club, never returned.

      There were so many harrowing tales. Eye-witness John Dawson was among the injured. He said: "When the barrier gave way I was carried along a passageway for 20 yards with three people on top of me and at least three underneath."

      Another survivor of Staircase 13 was Robert Black. He said: "There was so much pressure from behind me that I was tossed down on top of others. People were on the ground and I was tossed over them. I was just carried forward by the surge."

      Both sides of the Old Firm put aside their rivalries and came together to play a game to raise funds for the victims' families. A combined Rangers and Celtic team took on a Scotland XI at Hampden watched by 81,405 fans.

      The tragedy echoed a previous accident on Staircase 13 when two people had been killed.

      The club and their fans were in mourning. It was the blackest day in the history of Scottish football.
    • 1972-1975 Triumph in Europe

      It was the greatest challenge of manager Willie Waddell's life - how to lead Rangers out of the shadows cast by the Ibrox disaster in which 66 fans died?

      The early signs were not good for Waddell and his coach Jock Wallace as they strove to overcome the Club's tragic loss.

      Rangers had won the League Cup and finished only fourth in Division One in that fateful 1970-71 season. Now the new season had begun disappointingly.

      The side lost four of their five opening games, including a 3-2 home defeat by Celtic. They had also been beaten twice by Celtic in August in the section games of the League Cup.

      In fact, the Championship was to offer no consolation to Rangers. They lost 11 of their 34 games, ending in third place.

      It was in Europe, however, that Rangers would find the stage on which to rediscover themselves. Stade Rennes were their first round opponents in the European Cup Winners' Cup. Rangers drew the first leg in France 1-1 and went through by winning 1-0 at Ibrox.

      In the second round, Rangers took only a 3-2 advantage with them to the away leg at Sporting Lisbon. A dramatic match ended in stalemate. It was 4-3 to Lisbon on the night after extra-time and 6-6 on aggregate.

      Lisbon won the penalty shoot-out. Rangers were crestfallen. But the referee had made a mistake. Manager Waddell grabbed the rule book and ran on to the pitch to point out the error. Rangers' away goals should have counted double, making them the winners, and it should never have gone to penalties. Rangers emotions changed rapidly as they were awarded the tie.

      Waddell had begun to experiment with the team, changing around players and positions in the search for a new style.

      Sandy Jardine was switched from the front to become a world-class full back which he would demonstrate in the 1974 World Cup. Dave Smith was converted from midfield into a sweeper and became Scotland's Player of the Year.

      Waddell also put the emphasis on youth, building a team for the future. He believed it would take time to find the consistency to win the Championship, but he was sure he had a side good enough to do well in Cup competitions.

      His strategy produced mixed results in League games, but it was proving successful against Continental sides.

      In the Cup Winners' quarter-final, Rangers were drawn to play the first leg at Torino. Derek Johnstone moved from centre forward to play in defence but still managed to score as Rangers stunned the Italians by taking the lead. Torino pulled one back in the second-half, to leave them visiting Ibrox all square.

      Rangers took the home leg 1-0 through an Alex MacDonald goal to set up a semi-final clash against mighty Bayern Munich led by the great West German captain Franz Beckenbauer.

      The first leg was in Munich and it brought out an impressive performance from Rangers. The first-half was all Bayern after Breitner scored for the home team. But Rangers withstood the pressure and got their reward when a Colin Stein cross was turned into the net by Bayern's Zobel.

      At Ibrox, Rangers were much more confident and the Germans were rocked by a first-minute goal from Jardine. Derek Parlane made it 2-0 by half-time and Rangers were through to the Cup Winners' Cup Final for the third time where they would face Moscow Dynamo.

      On both previous occasions, Rangers had come home empty handed, losing to Fiorentina in 1961 and going down by the only goal of the game scored in extra time in 1967 to Bayern. This time it would be different.

      By half-time in the Final at Barcelona's Nou Camp stadium, Rangers were cock-a-hoop. A shot from Colin Stein and a header from Willie Johnston had given Rangers a 2-0 lead over Dynamo.

      Within minutes of the re-start, Johnston had added a third. It was turning into a stroll. Then Rangers' concentration lapsed and sparked a Russian revival. Dynamo scored with 30 minutes to go. Suddenly, Rangers were on the defensive.

      Three minutes left and Dynamo scored again. The tension was unbearable. But Rangers survived and a 3-2 victory had given them their long-desired European prize at last.

      Understandably, the army of travelling Rangers fans were overcome with joy. But sadly, they invaded the pitch. Their exuberance met with over zealous policing and resulted in inevitable clashes.

      The Cup was not presented in public and Rangers were prevented from defending their hard-won trophy by a one-year ban from Europe.

      Within weeks, Waddell had moved on to become General Manager to be succeeded by his coach, Jock Wallace.

      Wallace had been player-manager of part-time Berwick when they inflicted an embarrassing 1-0 defeat on Rangers in a Scottish Cup tie in 1967. Five years on, this fitness fanatic was in charge at Ibrox using punishing training methods learned from the great Australian athlete and world mile record holder Herb Elliot.

      Wallace's first season was also Rangers' Centenary and they celebrated by winning the Scottish Cup, defeating Celtic 3-2 in the Final. But the real rejoicing was saved until season 1974-75 when at last Rangers broke Celtic's hold on the Championship.

      It was to be the last Championship of its kind. Scottish football was changing. The old Division One would no longer be the top flight. A new Premier League was being formed of Scotland's top 10 teams which would play each other four times in the League in a season.

      Somehow there was a pattern to it all. Rangers had been co-holders of the first Scottish Division One Championship, were winners of the last . . . and would be the first Champions of the new Scottish Premier League.
    • 1976-1996 A New Beginning

      The new Scottish Premier League began in the season of 1975-76. Apart from Rangers, the inaugural members of the elite division were Aberdeen, Ayr, Celtic, Dundee, Dundee United, Hearts, Hibernian, Motherwell and St Johnstone.

      Compare those names with the teams who played in the very first Scottish Championship back in 1890-91. Only Rangers, Celtic and Hearts were still there. Others had long gone, such as Abercorn, Cambuslang, Cowlairs and Vale of Leven.

      Of the remainder, Dumbarton and St Mirren were in lower divisions and Third Lanark had dropped out of the Scottish League in 1967.

      So the brave new world consisted of 10 teams, the same number as the original. The difference was that now clubs would play each other four times a season.

      Under Jock Wallace's management, Rangers won 23 of their 36 Championship games that season, drawing eight and losing five. They won both games at home against Celtic and drew the away games. Their defeats were at Aberdeen, soon to become a major force in Scottish football, and at Ayr, Hearts, Hibs and Motherwell.

      Rangers won the first Scottish Premier title by six points (when a win was still two points) from runners-up Celtic.

      But it wasn't just that title win that made it an historic year. Rangers won the League Cup, beating Celtic 1-0 in the Final, and also lifted the Scottish Cup with a 3-1 victory over Hearts. Rangers had achieved the Treble for the third time.

      And then euphoria was replaced by disappointment. The next season the cupboard was bare. But it wasn't empty for long. Within 12 months, Rangers had pulled off their fourth Treble, pipping Aberdeen in the Premier League, defeating Celtic 2-1 in the League Cup Final and beating Aberdeen again 2-1 in the Scottish Cup Final.

      Wallace had achieved the Treble twice in three seasons - and then he quit abruptly after a disagreement with Willie Waddell and the Rangers board

      Rangers turned to one of their European Cup Winners' Cup heroes, John Greig, to be their seventh manager and he came desperately close to winning the Treble in his first season in charge.

      Aberdeen were beaten 2-1 in the League Cup Final and Hibernian were overcome 3-2 at the third attempt in the Scottish Cup Final. But Rangers, who led the table, came unstuck near the end of the 1978-79 season at Parkhead going down 4-2 to Celtic. With just eight minutes to go it had been 2-2. The lapse was enough to hand the title to Celtic.

      After such an encouraging start, the honours dried up. There was a Scottish Cup Final triumph over Dundee United, 4-1 after a replay, in 1981 and a 2-1 League Cup Final victory over the same opponents in 1982.

      But expectations were high and the pressure was too great. John Greig resigned in 1983 and was replaced by the returning Jock Wallace.

      Wallace won the League Cup two years in a row (3-2 over Celtic in 1983-84 and 1-0 against Dundee United in 1984-85), but Rangers' League form was indifferent. These were the years when a "New Firm" - Aberdeen and Dundee United - sought to establish itself and Rangers couldn't finish in the first three.

      By 1985-86 Rangers had slumped to fifth, finishing with less than a point a game - a total of 35 from 36 games. It had never happened in Rangers' history and it was a record they would want to forget. Wallace, previously the man with the golden touch and the only one to manage Rangers twice, was sacked.

      He was replaced by former Scotland international Graeme Souness, a fiery competitor with an illustrious career at Liverpool and Sampdoria. He appointed Walter Smith, who had been No 2 at Dundee United, as his assistant and began a policy of bringing in big name players from England.

      For 80 years, Scotland had seen some of its best football talent drain away over the border. Now Souness reversed it with the likes of England internationals Terry Butcher, Chris Woods and Trevor Steven heading north.

      Souness, however, made a controversial start. As player-manager, he was sent off after a flare-up at Hibernian in his first game for the club in August 1986. Souness received a three-match ban and Rangers were fined £5,000.

      But at the end of his first full season, Souness had brought the Championship back to Ibrox. Rangers also won the League Cup, beating Celtic 2-1 in the Final.

      Souness was on the brink of returning Rangers to greatness, but first it would take a revolution that came with the arrival in the boardroom of David Murray.

      Murray, a successful businessman and friend of Souness, became the new owner of Rangers in November 1988, though he did not take over as chairman from David Holmes until June the following year.

      He began investing in the team and in the stadium - a process which saw £90 million spent on players and £52 million on ground developments in Murray's first 10 years.

      That first season with Murray and Souness together at the helm brought the first of a record-equalling run of Nine-In-A-Row Championships.

      They also did something which hadn't happened at Rangers for more than 70 years. They signed a high-profile Catholic player.

      In the early days of Scottish football, it was not unusual for players to turn out for both Rangers and Celtic. It was only around the time of the First World War, when Belfast shipyard workers moved to the Clyde, that sectarian attitudes began to harden.

      Now with the signing of Mo Johnston, a former Celtic player, for £1.5 million from French club Nantes, Murray was announcing that old prejudices had no place in the modern game.

      After a second successive League title in 1989-90, Souness left to manage Liverpool in April 1991. Murray gave him credit for "turning the big ship round."

      Walter Smith stepped up as Rangers' ninth manager and the club would win seven League Championships, three Scottish Cups and three League Cups in the space of seven magnificent seasons. No previous Rangers' manager had won so many honours in such a short time.

      By season 1992-93, Rangers had won their fifth Treble in awesome fashion. They lost only one of their first 23 League games and, of the other four defeats, three came after the Championship had been won. The margin was still nine points over second-placed Aberdeen.

      In all, Rangers went a remarkable 44 games without defeat in all competitions. For the record the sequence was 29 League games, four League Cup, three Scottish Cup and eight matches in the European Champions' League.

      It was Rangers' finest run in Europe since winning the Cup Winners' Cup in 1972. In the first round, Rangers beat Lyngby of Copenhagen 3-0 on aggregate then faced English Champions Leeds United in a "Battle of Britain" second round tie.

      Scotland and Leeds captain Gary McAllister stunned Ibrox with a goal in the first minute of the first leg. Rangers won 2-1 thanks to Ally McCoist and an own goal from the Leeds keeper John Lukic.

      In the away leg, Mark Hateley scored with a scorcher from 25 yards and a McCoist header made it 2-0. Leeds pulled one back at the end of the game, but Rangers had become the first British club to qualify for the league stage of the competition.

      Rangers' opponents in their group were Olympique Marseille, FC Bruges and CSKA Moscow. It was always going to be tough. Rangers had key players missing through injury and were limited at that time by the rule which allowed a club to field only three foreign players in the Champions' League.

      They won 1-0 away in Moscow and beat Bruges 2-1 at Ibrox. All the other matches were drawn, including a memorable clash with Marseille in Glasgow where Rangers came from behind to score twice in the last 10 minutes. It was not enough for them to progress to the final, but Rangers had played 10 games in Europe without losing.

      They beat Aberdeen 2-1 to win the League Cup and wrapped up the Championship with another 2-1 victory over the Dons.

      Once again, Rangers were Simply The Best in Scottish football - and it was to get even better.
    • 1997 Nine In A Row

      It was Wednesday May 7 1997, the most memorable day in the long and glorious history of Glasgow Rangers football club. Rangers, leading the Premier League with two games to go, were away to Dundee United where they had lost 1-0 earlier in the season.

      A header from Brian Laudrup, the ball hit the back of the net. Rangers had done it - a record-equalling nine Championships in succession.

      No 1: 1988-89

      The glory road had begun at Douglas Park in August 1988 when Gary Stevens, a £1million Summer signing, scored the first goal in a 2-0 win over Hamilton.

      Two weeks later, Rangers set their record League win over Celtic with a 5-1 victory at Ibrox after the visitors had scored first. Rangers beat Celtic in three out of their four League games, including their first victory at Parkhead in nine years.

      The Championship was settled with a comfortable defeat of Hearts at Ibrox at the end of April when Kevin Drinkell scored twice in a 4-0 win. Rangers had won 14 out of their last 16 matches, including a run of nine victories, and finished six points clear of runners-up Aberdeen.

      No 2: 1989-90

      Mo Johnston, Rangers' controversial signing, repaid the club by scoring a dramatic last-minute winner against his former team Celtic at Ibrox in November. Johnston was to finish as the club's leading marksman for the season.

      Rangers also won their first New Year Old Firm match at Parkhead since 1964. But by Spring they had gone off the boil and went five games without a win. Any nerves about the title disappeared, however, at Ibrox on April Fools Day. The turning point came with a 3-0 defeat of Celtic, again making it three victories out of four for Rangers.

      A Trevor Steven header sealed the Championship with a 1-0 victory over Dundee United at Tannadice with two games to spare. Despite that wobble in March, Rangers defence had conceded just 19 goals in 36 games and they finished seven points ahead of second-place Aberdeen.

      No 3: 1990-91

      The closest title race of the nine. Mark Hateley had been signed for £1 million from AC Milan, but captain Terry Butcher was left out of the side in September and would soon be on his way to Coventry.

      Rangers chalked up a run of 15 matches without defeat, but with five matches left to play and Aberdeen breathing down their necks, manager Graeme Souness sprung a shock by announcing that he was leaving for Liverpool.

      Walter Smith took over and on the last day of the season, Rangers faced Aberdeen at Ibrox with the Dons needing only a draw to win the title. The pressure was intense, but two goals from Hateley retained the Championship for Rangers by two points.

      No 4: 1991-92

      Smith's first full season in charge and he did the Cup and League Double. One -of his first signings was goalkeeper Andy Goram from Hibernian for £1 million.

      Rangers opened their season with a 6-0 humiliation of St Johnstone in which Hateley scored a hat-trick. Hateley also scored both goals in the Old Firm victory over Celtic in August.

      But it was Ally McCoist who would end as the League's leading scorer with 34 goals. McCoist had often been kept on the bench by Souness the previous season. Now he was rampant, inspired by the confidence shown in him by Smith.

      Aberden were beaten 3-2 at Pittodrie in December and Rangers won 3-1 at Celtic in the New Year. Hearts were mounting a title challenge, but McCoist killed off their chances with the only goal of the game at Tynecastle in February.

      On the run-in, Rangers lost just once in 24 matches and clinched the title with three games to spare with a 4-0 home victory over St Mirren. They scored more than a century of goals for the first time since 1939 and left runners-up Hearts nine points adrift in the table.

      No 5: 1992-93

      The season of Rangers' fifth Treble. One of the great teams which also came with 90 minutes of the European Cup Final. After drawing with Celtic 1-1 at Ibrox in August they did not lose for seven months, stringing together a run of 44 games in all competitions.

      By February they were already five points clear of Aberdeen when they went to Pittodrie and won 1-0. The Championship was won with four games to go at Broomfield Park where Rangers beat Airdrie 1-0. McCoist was again the Premier League's leading marksman with 34 goals.

      In winning the title by nine points from Aberdeen, much was made of Rangers' fantastic team spirit. As David Murray has said: "Everybody played hard for each other and that pulled us through. I think that was probably our greatest era.

      No 6: 1993-94

      The hardest won title. Rangers suffered an appalling catalogue of injuries yet only missed out on an historic back-to-back treble through a 1-0 defeat by Dundee United in the Scottish Cup Final.

      No fewer than 11 players required surgery and Smith was rarely able to field his chosen team. Despite a 2-1 victory over Hearts on the opening day of the season, Rangers struggled early on. It took a 3-1 defeat of Dundee United at Tannadice in October to end a run of just one win in eight games.

      Gordon Durie arrived for £1.2 million from Tottenham in November and Rangers luck began to change. But they still went to Celtic for the New Year clash beset by injuries and as underdogs. Hateley, the club's leading scorer that season, made it 1-0 after 58 seconds and Rangers took the game 4-2.

      Rangers now went 17 games undefeated, including seven straight wins between February and April. Despite taking only two points from their last five games, an exhausted Rangers picked up their sixth successive title by three points from runners-up Aberdeen.

      No 7: 1994-95

      The season that the Scottish Premier League adopted the now familiar three points for a win saw the great Dane Brian Laudrup arrive at Ibrox from Fiorentina for £2.25 million.

      On the opening day against Motherwell, he first supplied the cross for Hateley to score and then, picking up the ball on the edge of the Rangers penalty area, started a long run to just outside the Motherwell box where he provided the pass from which Duncan Ferguson found the net.

      This was a player with immense natural gifts and Rangers' fans whooped with delight when he scored in a 3-1 victory against Celtic.

      Rangers set up a run of 14 games without defeat, including a 3-0 victory at Dundee United. But in March 1995, the club was saddened by the tragic death of former star Davie Cooper at the age of 39.

      With the title within touching distance, Rangers beat Aberdeen 3-2 in April and eight days later conquered Hibernian 3-1 at Ibrox. Laudrup was named Scotland's Player of the Year and Rangers had won the title by 15 points from Motherwell.

      No 8: 1995-96

      Paul Gascoigne had joined Rangers from Lazio for £4.3 million during the Summer and was to play a decisive part in the Championship.-

      Celtic were a major threat to Rangers title ambitions and lost only one game all season - at home to Rangers. The other Old Firm games were drawn, including a pulsating 3-3 thriller at Ibrox.

      Hibernian were slaughtered 7-0, but Rangers struggled at Raith and were trailing 2-1 until two late goals from McCoist grabbed the points.

      But the final glory was Gazza's. Aberdeen took the lead in the crunch match at Ibrox before the Geordie genius, Scotland's Player of the Year, took the game by the scruff of the neck. In a virtuoso performance, Gascoigne scored two golden goals before completing his hat-trick from the penalty spot.

      Despite losing two games more than Celtic, Rangers beat them to the title by four points.

      No 9: 1996-97

      The race for the Championship revolved around the four Old Firm games with Celtic. In the first, at Ibrox in September, Rangers won 2-0 with goals from Captain Colossus Richard Gough - the man Walter Smith called "my cornerstone" - and Gascoigne.

      Five games later - only one of which Rangers had won - they met again. This time Brian Laudrup scored the only goal of the game with a thundering strike.

      Back at Ibrox in January Rangers won 3-1, Jorg Albertz getting the first with a blistering free kick and substitute Erik Bo Andersen coming on and scoring twice.

      Then in March, Rangers made it played four won four, the first clean sweep they had achieved over Celtic in the Premier League. The only goal was a scrappy affair, a lob from Ian Durrant going in after a mix-up in the Celtic goalmouth.

      And so it came down to that Spring evening at Tannadice. Laudrup rarely scored with his head. But the goal which made it Nine-In-A-Row went in like a bullet. Rangers had earned their place in the history books.

      There was a five point gap between them and runners-up Celtic, the team whose record they had equalled.

      It was the early hours of the morning when the players arrived back at Ibrox from Dundee. But the streets around the ground were packed with celebrating fans.

      Triumphant manager Walter Smith was overwhelmed: "The feeling at the end of the game was relief," he said. "Knowing how much it meant to Rangers supporters, it is something we will never forget."

      Or as departing captain Richard Gough, soon to leave for America, put it: "The boys are legends now."

      The clamour for a 10th title was enormous, but it was a bridge too far. Rangers could finish season 1997-98 only second.

      Walter Smith moved on to Everton and in his place for 1998-99 came Dick Advocaat, Holland's coach at the World Cup in 1994 and manager of PSV Eindhoven.
    • 1998-2002 - The Advocaat Years

      Dick Advocaat became only the tenth manager in the history of Rangers when he succeeded Walter Smith on June 1, 1998.

      The former PSV Eindhoven boss arrived with a fearsome reputation. He knew that he would be losing many of the Rangers legends that had graced the Ibrox turf during nine-in-a-row and immediately set about creating his own squad of players.

      In total, 15 players from the Smith era were to leave the club during Advocaat's first season in charge so it was imperative that the new manager made several signings of his own.

      His trusted skipper at PSV, Arthur Numan, joined the club along with fellow Dutchman Giovanni Van Bronckorst. Former Manchester United and Everton winger Andrei Kanchelskis also signed along with keeper Lionel Chabonnier, striker Rod Wallace, defender Daniel Prodan and Argentinian striker Gabriel Amato.

      The immediate transformation in the squad under Advocaat can be seen in the Ibrox side's line-up on the last day of Smith's era and the first domestic game of the Dutchman's reign.

      Smith's team on Scottish Cup Final day on May 16 1998 read: Goram; Porrini, Amoruso, Gough, Bjorkland, Stensaas; Gattuso, I. Ferguson, McCall; Durie, Laudrup.

      Advocaat's starting eleven against Hearts in the SPL on August 2, 1998 was Niemi: Gattuso, Porrini, Moore, Numan; Thern, I. Ferguson, van Bronckhorst, Albertz; Durie, Wallace.

      To say that Dick's first few games in charge were nailbiting would be an understatement. His new-look Rangers team had to travel to Tranmere to take on Shelbourne in an UEFA Cup qualifier and, unbelievably, went three goals behind, leaving the Gers support stunned.

      The Ibrox faithful had seen some poor European results in recent times but a debut defeat at the hands of the Irish part-timers would have been a truly catastrophic start to the new manager's reign.

      Advocaat introduced new-boy Gabriel Amato and Finn Jonatan Johansson and this sparked the team in to life. In what proved to be a frantic second half, goals from Albertz (2), van Bronckhorst and Amato (2) gave the team a comfortable 5-2 advantage to take back to Ibrox, much to the relief of every Light Blue supporter.

      During his first season at the helm, Advocaat continued to bring in new players to the club such as Scottish Internationalists Colin Hendry and Neil McCann, French World Cup winner Stephane Guivarc'h, German keeper Stefan Klos and American Claudio Reyna. In total he would spend £36.5m rebuilding his squad in his first year but the club would instantly reap the rewards.

      Although Rangers were to go out of the UEFA Cup in the third round against Italian giants Parma, the Little General led the team to a remarkable domestic treble. This was no mean feat considering players like Ian Durrant, Ally McCoist, Richard Gough, Brian Laudrup, Andy Goram and Stuart McCall had all left the club.

      Advocaat managed to get his hands on his first piece of silverware when Rangers beat St. Johnstone 2-1 in the Coca-Cola Cup Final at Hampden thanks to goals from Guivarc'h and Albertz.

      The Dutchman then led the team to Celtic Park to clinch his first SPL title on May 2 1999 and two goals from Neil McCann and a penalty from Jorg Albertz sealed the victory in front of 7,000 joyous away supporters.

      The treble was then completed when Rangers again beat their Old Firm rivals 1-0 in the Scottish Cup final thanks to a 49th minute goal from Rod Wallace.

      Following the triumphant treble no fewer than eight players would leave the club the following season including Guivarc'h to Auxerre, Amato to Gremio and Colin Hendry to Coventry.

      Advocaat again dipped in to the transfer market in time for the start of the following season and immediately snapped up defender Dariuz Adamczuk and Dutch striker Michael Mols. Billy Dodds and Turkish playmaker Tugay would also be brought in throughout the course of the season.

      Success under Advocaat continued and the Gers secured a domestic double in season 1999/00 beating Celtic to the title by a record 21 points and crushing Aberdeen 4-0 in the Scottish Cup Final.

      However, Martin O'Neill arrived at Parkhead the following season and halted Rangers' dominance.

      Advocaat signed Dutch Internationalists Ronald de Boer, Bert Konterman and Fernando Ricksen for the 2000/01 season along with strikers Peter Lovenkrands and Kenny Miller. These signings, however, were overshadowed by the £12m spent on Norwegian striker Tore Andre Flo in November 2000, a Scottish record transfers fee that is unlikely to ever be matched in football's current climate.

      However, even with these big name signings, Celtic went on to win a domestic treble although Rangers had a great chance to progress past the group stages of the Champions League after being drawn to face Bayern Munich, Galatasaray, and Sturm Graz.

      The Light Blues got off to a flyer by beating Austrian side Sturm Graz 5-0 at Ibrox and then travelled to the south of France to record a memorable 1-0 victory against Monaco thanks to a 30-yard strike from van Bronckhorst.

      Advocaat's side were then beaten 3-2 at Galatasay's famous Ali Sami Yen Stadium and could only draw 0-0 at home against the Turkish side. Things went from bad to worse when the Gers were then beaten 2-0 by Graz in Austria.

      Rangers still had a slim chance of qualifying from the group if they could have beaten Monaco but Advocaat's side agonisingly lost a late equaliser, scored by Marco Simone, when they had been leading 2-1 with goals from Miller and Mols.

      The disappointment in not qualifying from the Champions League group stages and Celtic winning the domestic treble meant that Advocaat found himself under severe pressure.

      Celtic went on to win the League Cup in 2001/02, their fourth domestic cup on the trot, and although Dick would guide Gers to the last 16 of the UEFA Cup that year, he announced he was stepping down as manager having spent almost £83m on players during his tenure at the club and recouping around £47m.

      The Dutchman would stay on as Director of Football and was instrumental in the appointment of Alex McLeish in December 2002, but Dick's legacy will be the creation of Murray Park.

      Rangers opened their state of the art training facility on July 1, 2001 and the training ground has already helped nurture top team talent like Stephen Hughes, Bob Malcolm, Mo Ross and Allan McGregor.

      Dick quit Rangers for good in November 2002 to take the Holland national job on a full-time basis and although many supporters were critical of his final days at the club it is important to remember his early success and, above all, the creation of Murray Park!
    • 2001-2006 An Eck Of A Ride

      The end was fitting. The Rangers fans warmly applauded Alex McLeish as he bowed out as manager on May 7, 2006 after four and a half remarkable years and brought the curtain down on his reign.

      He left with dignity, with his head held high and he left a wealth of great memories which will be forever etched in the club's history.

      Alex McLeish was the right man at the right time to take the Rangers job in December 2001 and he defied the odds to bring seven major honours during his time as well as a journey into unchartered territory in the Champions League.

      Of course, there were disappointing times. Much of the 03/04 season was hard to bear as a team which started so brightly fizzled out quickly and lost the title by the length of Copland Road.

      Some of the domestic form in the 2005/06 season was also poor. However, reaching the Round of 16 in the Champions League was something special and that was what drove McLeish on.

      Of course, much of McLeish's early success was built on the team that Dick Advocaat left behind - a team that was left standing by Martin O'Neill's Celtic.

      McLeish found ways to motivate them and he delivered the CIS Cup and the Tennent's Scottish Cup in the first six months of his reign.

      He recalled: "There was great quality in the Dick Advocaat side - fantastic quality. We all know how much it cost to assemble that squad.

      "I think I used everybody - even guys who had been frozen out - and we got the early success that we needed.

      "There is no doubt the CIS Cup semi-final win over Celtic when Bert Konterman scored that amazing goal was pivotal. It cemented my relationship with the Rangers fans and allowed us to go on and -gain success early.

      "I know that I had to make my mark in the early days because success is everything at Rangers.

      "Of course, the Cup Final with Celtic was even better. It was fairytale stuff as we won 3-2 in the final seconds with Peter Lovenkrands heading the winner.

      "That gave us a platform to work from, but we had to start the pruning then.

      "It was clear that a few had to leave the club due to the finances.

      "A few did go and the fact that we went on to lift all three trophies in 2002/03 was a terrific achievement."

      Andrei Kanchelskis was let go and Tore Andre Flo was moved on to Sunderland, but Rangers remarkably won all three trophies with O'Neill's side as strong as it ever was.

      The play of Barry Ferguson and Ronald de Boer was key while players like Arthur Numan, Lorenzo Amoruso, Neil McCann and Claudio Caniggia made huge contributions.

      When the new campaign got going, only de Boer remained as McLeish was forced into a major re-organisation of the finances.

      He had to gamble in the transfer market to sign people like Emerson, Capucho and Ostenstad. Unfortunately, the gamble did not pay off.

      He said: "The following season was the real demise of the Dick Advocaat era as a number of the players he had worked with left the club.

      "Only Ronald stayed and really he was shot to pieces with injuries in that season and hardly featured.

      "Shota Arveladze was a mainstay but he suffered from niggling injuries in that campaign too.

      "That was obviously a very tough season and people were maybe looking for me to go at that time but the chairman kept faith in me.

      "He realised the deck of cards I had been dealt were not that tremendous. He understood that the situation was a difficult one and gave me the chance to continue."

      It was an astute move by David Murray for although Rangers suffered disappointment in Europe in 2004/05 by losing at home to Auxerre in the UEFA Cup, they only lost two league matches after that to take the title on the final day at Easter Road by virtue of Celtic's defeat at Fir Park and their win over Hibs.

      McLeish said: "It was an amazing finish to win the championship on the final day again - especially in the dramatic way that it happened.

      "Of course, from a manager's perspective I would have loved to have won it with 10 games to go.

      "It was a nervous day but we showed our mettle and had the mental strength to go all the way."

      It is fair to say that McLeish could have walked away a hero at that point, but there was a burning sensation in his gut that he had to achieve on the European stage.

      He said: "I could have left in the summer of 2005 having delivered the title but Europe was something that rankled with me.

      "Over the years the critics had said that I couldn't cut it in Europe and that I didn't have the tactical nous to compete at that level.

      "I had this desire to do something and that was one of the main reasons that drove me in 05/06."

      He got his wish by firstly taking Rangers into the group phase by negotiating the awkward Cypriots Anorthosis Famagusta and then guiding Rangers into the last 16.

      He said: "When you consider the players we were missing in a lot of the European games, I think we should get even more credit for what we did.

      "We only lost one game in the group phase of the Champions League and overall it was the only defeat in 10 European matches so I think that shows that myself, Andy and Jan have some tactical awareness.

      "Our points tally may have been less than some Rangers teams before and some other teams this season that did not get through.

      "However, the objective was to qualify for the last 16 and that's what we did.

      "My coaching staff have been tremendously loyal. In football things can get a little bit bitchy and it is the same in any walk of life.

      "However, I was lucky that I had two great men in Andy Watson and Jan Wouters who would have taken bullets for me. Their loyalty was a massively important thing.

      "I also had a terrific rapport with the medical staff. I trusted their judgment and it was a good working relationship."

      Of course, while the European run was the highlight, domestically things were decidedly bleak.

      McLeish admits that he contemplated walking away but decided to fight the battle, as he has throughout his career.

      He admitted: "We were in fifth place two points adrift of Kilmarnock who we were facing on the Sunday down at rugby Park. We could have gone five behind them and even Inverness could have overtaken us and shunted us down to sixth.

      "It was an horrendous time. I spoke to my wife and she wondered whether I should have resigned at that point.

      "She knew the knives would be out if we lost at Rugby Park.

      "However, I looked at it the other way. I have never walked away from a challenge and I certainly couldn't walk away leaving Rangers in fifth place.

      "That would have been held against me forever.

      "We won down there and we moved ahead of Kilmarnock into fourth place and there is no doubt match pivotal.

      "We then went out and signed Kris Boyd and his goals almost got us to the Champions League which is remarkable when you consider that we were 16 points behind Hearts in December.

      "Having said that we only have ourselves to blame for not making it and it does disappoint that I have left the club with a third place finish."

      Of course, all managers are heavily scrutinised in the transfer market and as already mentioned McLeish had the problem of losing expensive, high earners and replacing them with cheaper options.

      Remarkably, McLeish MADE £13.6million in his transfer dealings.

      He said: "It's difficult to get every one right, especially when you are working in the Bosman market.

      "You then take risks and you hope that you can get the best out of someone. You hope that you are able to find something better from a player than he has been showing.

      "When it doesn't materialise then you take the flak for that,

      "However, when you consider we sold Boumsong for £8million and got him for nothing and the success of Prso in the last two seasons and Boyd in the second half of this season then we have had major successes too.

      "It was a great privilege to have worked at this great football club and I wish Rangers every success in the future.

      "I still get the tingle when I climb the marble staircase or drive past stadium and that will never change."
    • Records and Honours

      European Cup Winners Cup
      Winners 1972; Runners-up 1961, 1967

      Scottish League Champions (51)
      *1891, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1918, 1920, 1921, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1939, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2005,
      *In 1891 the championship was shared with Dumbarton

      Scottish Cup Winners (31)
      1894, 1897, 1898, 1903, 1928, 1930, 1932, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1953, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1973, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2008

      Scottish League Cup Winners (24)
      Season Starting:
      1946, 1948, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1970, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2008

      Record Ibrox attendance:
      118,567 v Celtic, Division One, January 2nd, 1939

      Record Victory:
      13-0 v Possilpark, Scottish Cup, October 6, 1877, v Uddingston, Scottish Cup, November 10, 1877 and v Kelvinside, Scottish Cup, September 28, 1889.

      Most goals in a game:
      14-2 Blairgowrie, Scottish Cup, 1934

      Record Defeat:
      1-7 v Celtic, League Cup Final, October 19, 1957.

      Record League victory:
      10-0 v Hibs, December 24, 1898.

      Record League defeat:
      0-6 v Dumbarton, May 4, 1892.

      Record appearances:
      John Greig, 755, 1960-78.

      *Dougie Gray made 940 appearances between 1925 and 1947 but 385 of them were during World War II and these games are considered unofficial.

      Record League appearances:
      Sandy Archibald, 513, 1917-34.

      Record Scottish Cup appearances:
      Alec Smith, 74.

      Record League Cup appearances:
      John Greig, 121.

      Record European appearances:
      John Greig. 64.

      Record scorer:
      Ally McCoist 355 goals, 1983-98.

      Highest number of League goals in a season:
      Sam English, 44 goals in 1931/32

      Most League goals:
      Ally McCoist, 251.

      Most Scottish Cup goals:
      Jimmy Fleming, 44.

      Most League Cup goals:
      Ally McCoist, 54.

      Most European goals:
      Ally McCoist, 21.

      Most capped player
      Ally McCoist (60 caps for Scotland)

      Record transfer fee received:
      £8.5million from Arsenal for Giovanni van Bronckhorst, July 2001.

      Record transer fee paid:
      £12.5million to Chelsea for Tore Andre Flo.
    • Promoting The Rangers Story
      By Strathclyde Bear

      Friday, 25th January 2008
      They were kids - just teenagers. They had to source a second-hand ball and played the earliest games in street clothes but, regardless, The Rangers were born.
      In 1872, four young lads from the Gareloch - William McBeath, Peter Campbell, Moses McNeil and his brother Peter - witnessed the game of football being played and decided to form their own club on Flesher's Haugh at Glasgow Green.

      From the formative days, this Club didn't accept second best. The well-established Queen's Park would only offer their second string XI for a game but The Rangers refused. They worked hard and in those days were very much a family Club. Peter Campbell was joined by his brother, John, and the first of the Rangers legends, Tom Vallance, was joined by his brother, Alex. A third McNeil brother, William, also became involved.

      Within just five years, this young Club, formed in the most modest of conditions well before league football had been thought of, reached the final of the country's premier tournament: The Scottish Cup. Their opponents were the great Vale of Leven, a club also formed in 1872 and who defeated Queen's Park in the quarter final.

      A young Rangers XI played against the Vale in March of 1877 and the game ended in a draw. It took a second replay to decide a winner and the Friday night match that finally saw a victor drew a crowd of 8,000, following the record-breaking 12,000 and 15,000 from the previous two matches. Reports from the day suggest the play of The Rangers captivated the crowd:

      "The Rangers were now playing with a combination surpassing any of their appearances this season. The play of Vallance and Gillespie as the back support of the Rangers was certainly something unexpected, even from such good exponents of the game as they are recognised to be."

      "The forward runs of Peter Campbell, Messrs McNeil, Watson and Hill, exceeded any of their play shown in the course of this season and without entering into the details of individual exertions, the Rangers, as a team, must be complimented on their exhibition of the passing and dribbling tactics of the game."

      The second replay saw Vale of Leven lift the Cup but The Rangers had made their mark on the game. The 1877 Scottish Cup final was the first of the great finals; certainly the first legendary Rangers game and one that was talked about for years. Indeed, in print, quarter of a century later, the game was still remembered fondly by those who witnessed it. Vale may have been victorious on the day but it was Rangers that won over time.

      Fast forward some 50 years and this Club, founded out of nothing, played in front of six figure crowds. From nothing, from a borrowed football and street clothes on a public park to a bursting trophy cabinet and some of the biggest crowds any football club in the world had known.

      The story of The Rangers is THE greatest story in football. It's a real rags-to-riches, a sporting fairytale.

      History doesn't appeal to everyone. Maybe this is due to the way it's taught in schools but the sad fact is that it is often disregarded as dull and unimportant. This couldn't be further from the truth. It defines us. In the case of Rangers, it defines who we are, reaffirms our status and it is what sets us apart from other Clubs. Without this history, football is another Americanised franchise sport; clubs are mere playthings of multi-millionaires with little to distinguish one from the other at a similar level.

      This brings us on to a more recent and somewhat controversial topic: the Rangers Hall of Fame. The concept is excellent; we have a great history so let's shout about it. Unfortunately, this went wrong almost from the inception as some true greats of Rangers were left out in favour of more recent, and some would say less deserving players. A Hall of Fame generates debate but I'm sure most will agree that much of the 80s was a forgettable time to be a Rangers supporter so it's only natural that there would be fewer players from this period compared to, say, the 60s or the 90s, right? Only that's not how it worked out.

      Instead of having Willie Reid, Robert Hamilton and Iain McMillan in there, we have Ray Wilkins, Mark Hateley and Barry Ferguson. I'm not doubting or criticising Wilkins' or Hateley's contribution to Rangers but it just can't compare in any way with your Meiklejohns or Grays - 69 games compared to near 1,000 games is a mammoth mismatch. Barry Ferguson and other current players shouldn't yet be anywhere near a Hall of Fame. Then there's the inclusion of Terry Butcher and DJ - the former's comments about Davie Cooper should ensure he's as popular around Ibrox as Peter Grant and DJ's sustained failure to defend Rangers when given the chance and his clown act on radio should see him removed, despite his great playing career. Being a Ranger is about more than what happens on the pitch.

      It's not just the Hall of Fame that is a major failure in promoting our history properly. In the last couple of decades we have seen only one book of note from Rangers (Rangers - The Managers). Other writers have been commissioned to write for the Club (I'm thinking The Spirit of Ibrox here) and Rangers have promoted other books in the old Rangers shops but we haven't produced anything on the greatest football manager in history: Bill Struth.

      Check Amazon and you'll find plenty of books on David Beckham and Jose Mourinho, some on Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, even a few on utter non-entities that played for our city neighbours. But the greatest manager of all time remains a mystery to most people because there has never been anything published about him.

      Don't get me wrong here - there are some great books on Rangers out there and it shouldn't always be down to RFC to write about the Club, but Rangers must lead from the front with our story and, at present, they are light years behind the support. Ideally, the Club would have a small team whose job it is to research and produce quality books and articles but that's unlikely to happen any time soon.

      In recent years we have seen our history revised by those that shouldn't even be commenting on Rangers. An article suggesting the young lads that founded our Club did so in order to sell replica strips beggars belief to the point that it would be laughable if people weren't believing it. And to have Sandy Jardine, a current employee of the Club, describe our history as "80 years of sectarianism" is frightening. The ultimate example of hero to zero.

      When the people in charge of the day-to-day running of our Club comprise of a rugby fan who, no matter how you may want to twist it, is quite simply not a Rangers First And Last man, and a perma-tanned former male model who doesn't have the experience to work at the top of our Club, it's little wonder that Rangers doesn't promote our story.

      Those inside Ibrox may wear the Club tie and attend backslapping dinners but they don't appear to care about Rangers beyond their wage packet or share price. The passion amongst the supporters for Rangers and our history is unrivalled. Until the regime departs, it's up to us to promote all that's good about Rangers - no one else will. It's our story and it's a great one. Shout about it!
    • Rangers: The forgotten history

      The birth of the blues is a story of remarkable poignancy. Rangers are a solid, substantial club with its roots firmly planted in the soil of world football. Yet the beginnings of the club were truly humble and have been treated with an indifference, even an ignorance.

      Consider this for a test. Who founded Celtic? Most Scottish football fans would instantly reply: "Brother Walfrid". But who were the originators of Rangers? Some may mumble hesitantly: "Moses McNeil". Others would not hazard a guess.

      But the question receives its most authoritative answer in Gary Ralston's Rangers 1872: The Gallant Pioneers. This is the dramatic story of the formation of an institution and of the cruel fate that beset the four young boys who set the ball rolling for what soon became the leading club in Scottish football.

      "It is a sad, heartbreaking story. It adds an extra dimension to the formation of Rangers, just what these young guys went through.
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      The sadness for me is that they created a club that went on to be known throughout the world yet they themselves led such tragic lives. There is something touching, even romantic, about that," says Ralston.

      The simple conception of Rangers can be traced to Kelvingrove Park. There were four fathers: Peter McNeil and Moses McNeil, 17 and 16 years of age respectively, and Peter Campbell and William McBeath, both 15. They discussed the possibility of forming a team during their constitutional walk. The club that has won 52 Scottish championships was therefore basically started as a street team by a group of boys who had been smitten by the latest sporting enthusiasm of association football. They were joined in their endeavours by Tom Vallance, later to become a legendary Rangers captain, but who was then barely 16 years old.

      Their triumph was to be the foundation stones of a Scottish institution. Their tragedy was to die in relative obscurity and have their deeds unremembered by the mass of supporters.

      Ralston, gloriously, resurrects them. But the sadness remains. The passing of Moses in 1938 did not rate a mention in the press of that week. He was buried at Rosneath which only recently has become a place of pilgrimage for Rangers fans.

      His brother, Peter, died in his early 40s. He was certified insane and had been sectioned at Hawkhead Asylum in Paisley. The business brain behind Rangers, Peter had been beset by financial problems and the pressure took a toll on his mental and physical health.

      Peter Campbell had a more sudden demise. At 25, the marine engineer was lost at sea after the steamer he was working on came to grief in the Bay of Biscay.

      William McBeath, chronically ill and mentally infirm, was certified as "an imbecile". His last days were spent in the Lincoln workhouse, his passing went unremarked in the press when he died in 1917. He was given a pauper's burial and lies in an untended grave.

      Tom Vallance, however, did have his days in the sun. As a footballer, Vallance was of the highest rank, almost certainly one of the most accomplished players in the 1870s. He never played on the losing side against England and was a commanding captain for Rangers. Yet, in common with his band of brothers who were part of the formation of Rangers, he was struck by misfortune. Vallance embarked on a career in the tea plantations of Assam. But he returned to Scotland suffering from black water fever.

      Why did Ralston include him in the pantheon of Rangers founders even though Vallance was not at the meeting in Kelvingrove Park then known as West End Park?

      "Because he was an absolute colossus," said Ralston. "The two people who were absolutely pivotal to Rangers' development were Peter McNeil for his work behind scenes and Vallance. At 6ft 2in, he was a veritable club giant on and off the field."

      The club these vulnerable human beings created went from strength to strength.

      Ralston is keen to dispel any misconceptions about the birth of Rangers. "There was no political or religious element in the formation of Rangers," he said. "I am fascinated about just how the sectarian divide came into Scottish football but that happened in the 20th century, probably from about 1910-20."

      He added: "The birth of Rangers was basically a result of young guys deciding to have a team to play in what was the new craze of football. There was no other agenda, no wealthy benefactors."

      Ralston, a journalist, spent three years uncovering the story from the debris of passing decades. It was a labour of love.

      "I wanted to do it because I had read brief accounts of the formation of the club and I wondered just what had happened to those guys. This is a story that has never fully been told before. I was helped by the fact that the internet has meant that it is easier to do the kind of research that it is necessary in pulling the strands of the story together. Basically, it was a fascinating piece of Scottish football history that has been under-researched."

      He emerged from his studies with a mass of evidence that he has distilled into a story that is fascinating for any observer of Scottish football.

      "The most important game Rangers have played in their history was the 1877 Scottish Cup final," he claimed. "Rangers took the mighty Vale of Leven to three games. That final was crucial because SFA annals testify to the Glaswegian labour classes rushing from the factory gates to salute their new heroes. These games won them an audience."

      That audience has endured 137 years on. Rangers sit unmoveable on the South Side. The stadium has been modernised to cope with the changing imperatives of football. More than 50,000 people file into their seats of a Saturday. Hundreds of thousands more follow the Light Blues through internet and television.

      There are no shortage of stories on Rangers. But the tale of the birth of the club had been allowed to lie in the darkness of the past. Ralston has brought it into the light.

      Herald
    • A collection by FF's SamEnglish ...

      On This Day (26th August)

      1882 - Rangers 1 (McKenzie) Lugar Boswell 1 - Friendly
      1885 - Rangers 4 (Untraced) Kilmarnock 3 - Friendly
      1893 - St.Bernard's 0 Rangers 0 - Scottish First Division
      1899 - Clyde 2 Rangers 6 (Hyslop 2,J.McPherson,Smith,Robertson,Untraced) - Scottish First Division
      1901 - Celtic 1 Rangers 1 (Graham) - Friendly
      This game was a benefit match for Dan McArthur
      1903 - Dundee 4 Rangers 5 (Mackie 2,Walker 2,Stark) - Friendly
      1905 - Rangers 1 (McMillan) Aberdeen 0 - Scottish First Division
      1907 - St.Mirren 0 Rangers 0 - Friendly
      1908 - Celtic 3 Rangers 1 (Craig) - Friendly
      1911 - Clyde 0 Rangers 2 (Bennett,Hogg) - Scottish First Division
      1913 - Partick Thistle 1 Rangers 0 - Friendly
      1914 - Vale of Leven 1 Rangers 2 (Thomson,Logan) - Friendly
      1916 - Hearts 1 Rangers 3 (Cairns,Duncan,Archibald) - Scottish First Division
      1919 - Rangers 3 (Reid 2,Bowie) Albion Rovers 0 - Scottish First Division
      1922 - Motherwell 0 Rangers 4 (Cunningham 2,Smith,Cairns) - Scottish First Division
      1924 - Queen's Park 1 Rangers 3 (Cunningham 2,Archibald) - Scottish First Division
      1925 - Morton 2 Rangers 3 (Craig,Archibald,Cunningham) - Friendly
      1933 - Rangers 3 (Archibald,J.Smith Pen,McPhail) Cowdenbeath 1 - Scottish First Division
      1936 - Rangers 4 (McPhail 2 1Pen,Venters,J.Smith) Queen's Park 1 - Glasgow Cup 1st Round
      1939 - Rangers 3 (Waddell,Thornton,Venters) Arbroath 1 - Scottish First Division
      1944 - Partick Thistle 1 Rangers 2 (Gillick,Duncanson) - Glasgow Cup 1st Round
      1950 - Rangers 6 (Findlay 2,Thornton 2,Paton 2) Morton 1 - League Cup Section D
      1953 - Hearts 1 Rangers 1 (Grierson) - League Cup Section C
      1959 - Motherwell 2 Rangers 1 (Millar) - League Cup Section 4
      1961 - Rangers 5 (Wilson 3,Millar,Brand) Third Lanark 0 - League Cup Section 3
      1964 - Rangers 6 (Baxter,Forrest,McLean,Brand,Henderson,Wilson) St.Mirren 2 - League Cup Section 1
      1967 - Rangers 3 (Penman 2,Jardine) Aberdeen 0 - League Cup Section 2
      1970 - Morton 0 Rangers 2 (Johnston,Conn) - League Cup Section 2
      1972 - Clydebank 0 Rangers 5 (Greig,McLean Pen,Smith,Johnstone,Stein) - League Cup Section 3
      1978 - Rangers 0 Partick Thistle 0 - Scottish Premier Division
      1981 - Raith Rovers 1 Rangers 3 (Redford,Johnstone,J.McDonald) - League Cup Section 2
      1987 - Dunfermline Athletic 1 Rangers 4 (McCoist 3 1Pen,Falco) League Cup 3rd Round
      1989 - Celtic 1 Rangers 1 (Butcher) - Scottish Premier Division
      1992 - Dundee United 2 Rangers 3 (McCoist,Gough,Huistra) - League Cup Quarter-Final
      1995 - Rangers 1 (McCall) Kilmarnock 0 - Scottish Premier Division
      2001 - Rangers 2 (Mols,Ricksen) Dundee 0 - Scottish Premier League
      Gæð a Wyrd swa hio scel!


      RANGERS AN SINN - RANGERS AN DRASDA - RANGERS GU BRATH
    • Celebrating The Birth of Rangers

      THE ORIGINS of Rangers have been officially recognised by Glasgow City Council after a special plaque was unveiled at Glasgow Green.

      Sandy Jardine, Supporters Liaison Officer Jim Hannah and Historian David Mason were there along with Heather Lang, grand-daughter of one of the four founders of the club Peter McNeil.

      The plaque depicts the pioneers coming out of their rowing boats on the Clyde to move onto a football pitch.

      Rangers, of course, played their first ever matches in 1872 at Flesher's Haugh on Glasgow Green when Peter and Moses McNeil, along with Peter Campbell and William McBeath founded the club.

      All had been keen rowers from the Gare Loch area and had become excited by the new game of football. From such carefree beginnings an institution was born.

      The plaque was unveiled at the Glasgow Green Football Centre and it was as a result of hard work by Rangers supporter Ian McColl.

      He had written to the Council suggesting that the foundation of Rangers be recognised.

      Rangers FC