• Mac Egan

Glasgow Rangers Champions



That is something 10 years ago when Rangers got demoted to the Scottish League 2 I never thought I would say and certainly not this quick!



The Fall Of A Giant


This journey really started on the final day of the 2010-11 season the day Rangers won their 54th title (a world record at the time). 5-1 vs Kilmarnock an emphatic scoreline and a perfect way to end the career of one of the greatest managers in Rangers history Walter Smith (Sir Walter to any Rangers fan). This was a week or so into Craig Whyte’s tenure as the owner, after he bought the club for £1 in May 2011. However cracks started to form with the clubs finances, star players sold, rumours of 30 million in debt, and performances started to dip after selling these star players, like Jelavic and Kenny Miller, Rangers found themselves 4 points behind Celtic, after being 14 points ahead in November.


Then Valentine's day struck…


Rumours were going around for weeks about the chairman and his dealing, rival fans saying your club is going into administration, but it couldn’t actually happen could it? It could. Many Rangers players asking the owner personally how he could let the most successful team in the world get in this state and it turns out Whyte was borrowing £20 million from four years of future season ticket sales to help him take over the club. Whilst the club owed £9 million to HMRC and losing £10 million a year, and in April the administrators said the club was £134 million in debt due to the club using EBTs and underpaying the taxman by 50million. A very sorry state of affairs for the famous club.


The club had to take a 10 point deduction that took them out of the title race and the players to help save the club took pay cuts, some even up to 75%. And in June Charles Green bought Whyte's 85% shares for £2 and transferred assets to a new company. In July the `SPL clubs voted to allow Rangers in the 2 tier and 25 out of 30 said no, these are teams that put Scottish football into its darkest days, they chose to spite Rangers even though it has a major effect on their finances in a very negative way. In the end Rangers were still the same club as FIFA , UEFA and the SPL have said on many occasions.


The start Of The Journey


Rangers were placed in the Scottish League 2 in the 2012-13 season and sold most of their players, only a few stayed during the darkest of times.


With legend Ally McCoist managing Rangers he used his experience to keep the players happy and also to better the team with an experienced team.


The first game was in the challenge cup, a cup competition for lower league sides, ( like the EFL Trophy). It was against Brechin, a club most known for having a hedge on one side of the ground. Rangers didn't start off too well; they beat Brechin but only after extra time. In their first home game in League 2 49,118 a world record for a fourth tier match!


Rangers won the league in convincing manner and the fans were back in voice too, Ibrox averaged 45,744 in the 4th tier, which was more than Liverpool, Chelsea and only 104 less than Celtic.


Unbeaten Blues


The next year was excellent for Rangers as they won the Scottish League One unbeaten and scored 106 goals and having 33 wins out of 36! However Green the CEO resigned and between 2012-2015 they had 5 different chairmen.


Mike Cashley era


As the 2014-15 season approached Green sold the famous Ibrox stadiums naming rights to current Newcastle owner Mike Ashley. He did not allow any new kits to be sold in the rangers shop and when a Rangers shirt was sold in his Sports Direct company he only gave a very very small percentage to the club, he also had a 8 percent share in the club. Former managing director of Newcastle Derek Llambias became the chief executive, Ranger then were treated like a Newcastle feeder club with young prospects sent on loan including 5 in February 2015. However on an even sadder note club legend Ally McCoist left the club after he was fed up with the disruptive behaviour of the unstable board and his relationship with the fans got worse and worse. On the pitch the players were expected to achieve another promotion but they fell behind the league leaders Hearts early on. McCoist is now seen as a hero again as he was invaluable to the clubs survival and the rise back to the top. Before he left he brought back fan favourites in Kenny Miller and Kris Boyd to form a partnership up top. In January McCoist's assistant also left as he was taking charge of the team. And Mike Ashley's influence on the club waned as Dave King came in and he gained more and more control as the South African based Scot became chairman in the summer. Ex Rangers midfield Stuart McCall came in and turned fortunes around and reached the playoffs where they sadly lost to Motherwell in two legs in the final.


Warburton Is Magic


Mark Warburton came in as Rangers manager came in their second season in the Scottish Championship in 2015-16 season. They won their first 11 league games and also they won the challenge cup after beating Peterhead. They won the league in the end playing brilliant football on the way. The Scottish Championship that season was very competitive and Rangers probably faced better competition than Celtic, Hearts and Hibernian were both in the championship. Speaking of Hibernian they would go on to beat Rangers 2-1 in the Scottish cup final after Rangers secured a memorable Old Firm derby win in the semi final. Not winning the cup was not a good end to a good season, the message was clear.


Rangers were back in the top flight for the first time in since 2012.


The Magic Ran Out


One of the biggest clubs in Britain were back in the top flight and they set about strengthening the squad with players such as Joey Barton ( who claimed rival Scott Brown would be “nowhere near his level”) silky playmaker Niko Kranjčar, Philip Senderos along with Clint Hill. The season was going ok, winning a few of their games until the First Old Firm in the league since 2012…


They lost 5-1 at Celtic Park… humiliation for Rangers players and devastation for the fans as this was the one we wanted to win. In all honesty Celtic were far too good in that season with now Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers and Atletico Madrid frontman Dembele banging in goals. Celtic won the league that season but everything changed in February for Rangers bringing in Pedro Caxiniha, and when the appointment was made, me and every other Rangers fan had one question. Who? After all he had only managed Uniao Leiria, Nacional and al-Gharafa before managing one of the UK's premier clubs. And his record for those teams weren't exactly great. He managed to get Rangers to finish 3rd behind unbeaten Celtic and Aberdeen.


No Progres For Pedro


The summer started very well with Pedro using his Portugese and South American links to get in lots of new players such as fan favourite Daniel Candias (he left in 2019), midfield star Ryan Jack and of course star striker the one the only Alfredo Morelos. However he also did sign his fair share of flops such as Eduardo Herrera and Carlos Pena. Results in the 2018-19 season didn't start very well losing to part timers from Luxembourg in the Europa League Progres niederkorn. It got even more embarrassing for Pedro when he started arguing with fans in a bush. Under Pedro the gap between Rangers and Celtic grew even bigger. It was very clear he didn't know Scottish football very well and struggled vs the lesser known teams in Scotland. Vs Celtic his team lost 2-0 and then got humiliated 5-1. He eventually got sacked only 7 months into the job after he drew 1-1 vs kilmarnock leaving the “famous” in fourth place.


Mess Under Murty


Graeme Murty was appointed as interim manager again until the end of the season. And results weren't fantastic and the style the team played was even worse. The team played quite direct and had to rely on hero Kenny Miller for the majority of the goals.


Gerrard Joins Gers


Steven Gerrard the Liverpool legend took the opportunity to manage the Light Blues as his first managerial role after he was coaching the u18s. This link to Liverpool has helped him tremendously. As part of his coaching team he has ex Leeds and Liverpool player Gary McAllister as his assistant manager and he also has Michael Beale as one of his coaches, he has previously coached Sao Paulo and also Liverpool's academy.


Life under Gerrard started rather well having some good performances in Europe getting them to the europa league group stage, however he also didn't beat Celticon the first time of asking getting beat at Celtic Park by the manager he used to play under Brendan Rodgers.


However by the time December rolled around the gap was closed in the league to 1 point and December 29th was the day most Rangers fans remember with joy the day that Ryan jack scored and Rangers outclassed Celtic with their very high pressing and their slick passing. From then Rangers failed to capitalise on that result for the rest of the season finishing 9 points behind Celtic.


The next season went very similar. Rangers get Europa League (got out of the group this time beating Braga to reach the last 16). They got to the Betfred cup final this time however losing to Celtic to a very dubious goal. However then they went on a charge until the end of December not losing a game when they beat Celtic this time at Celtic Park for the first time in 9 years. Then the next few months that followed were just like last year under performing against the lesser teams in the league… until they found themselves 13 points behind Celtic , with a game in hand. Then the COVID 19 crisis struck and some calamitous events happened with a vote and the league got scrapped and Celtic were awarded a 9th title in a row.



This season was the biggest in Celtics history. Their fans have sung “ here we go 10 in a row” since Rangers demise, their players have mocked our fans about this season for years, this was the year either history would be made or Rangers made one of the best comebacks in football in the last few years. Rangers were very fast out of the blocks very quickly smashing teams left right and centre scoring goals for fun and breaking clean sheet records. Meanwhile Celtic were under performing in the league and were a laughing stock in Europe. The Europa League started and Rangers had a slightly more favourable group than Celtic and it went that way. Rangers topped their group and Celtic finished dead last. In the league between the teams Rangers were dominant in the Old Firms and were still unbeaten at Christmas… then the 2nd old Firm was played and Rangers at this time were 18 points clear in the league but Celtic had 3 games in hand. The old firm came and went with Celtic dominating but Callum Mcgregor scored an own goal that may have cemented Rangers the league. Rangers stayed on top and kept winning games maybe without the performances beforehand and Celtic kept dropping points. Then March the 7th came around. Rangers had won vs St Mirren the day before with thousands of Rangers fans outside and they could have won the league if Celtic didn't win their game vs Dundee United and they didn't!!! This meant that Rangers stopped a historic 10 and they won the league the earliest it's ever been won. And just recently Rangers smashed Celtic 4-1 a complete reversal from when Rangers got promoted.



Interview-


This part I have managed to ask some Rangers fans some questions about the title win and the journey back.



Colin

Twitter - @atcolin


What does the title win mean for you?


This title means everything, it’s the most important in our lifetime made all the sweeter by how comprehensively and early it’s been won. 10 years ago we were in free fall, the journey back was far harder than we thought it would be with some of the lowest moments actually being after we returned to the top division. We saw a gap between us and the other half of the old firm that at times felt insurmountable however we appointed a manager with a plan, a team and a system and most importantly we gave them time. In my lifetime I’d never gone more than 3 years without a title, the last ten years have been agonising but now they are over. The journey however isn’t, in fact it’s just beginning.


What was the lowest point in our journey back ?


Lowest point for me wasn’t just the defeats to Celtic, you can lose to Celtic even at the best of times, for me the lowest I ever felt was 25th October 2017 against Kilmarnock at Ibrox. It was a freezing awful night. We scored just before half time. We then missed a 90th minute penalty and Kilmarnock went up the park and scored an equaliser. The result dropped us to 4th in the league. It was the end of Pedro and I genuinely couldn’t see a way out of it at this point.


Favourite memory of the lower leagues?


I genuinely don’t think I have a favourite memory of the lower leagues, I remember being fed up and annoyed by the whole thing. The football was dire most of the time, we were still spending a fortune on players not worth anything like that money they were receiving. I was seeing a guy I’d idealised my whole life in Ally McCoist struggling and at times his relationship with fans crumbling too (thankfully it’s back intact now) I suppose the only positive thing was Warburton and the reminder that we could play decent football again. He did for his faults make us excited for a while, something we hadn’t been in quite some time.


Apart from the old firm and league win what has been the highlight of the Gerrard era?

The highlight of the Gerrard era to me has been the radical change throughout the whole club. This guy and the Europe’s success and subsequent finance that has brought in has allowed us to update our full football department and we now have a set up far better than anyone in the league and most in England too, training ground improvements, stadium improvements, scouting improvements, our marketing and commercial performance, having a club shop again. I’m just scratching the surface here but this is all down to the success the manager has given us on the park along with the support and backing of our board and previous chairman.


What should be the next goal for the club?

Our next goal should be as always to be even better next season. We won the league. Now we need to defend it. I want to win some cups and I want to hear the champions league music playing at Ibrox again in the group stages. In terms of marginal gains I want guys like Tav, Goldson and Kamara to be given improved contracts to either keep them here or maximise their value to us. My own goal? Just to be back in that stadium and just to add another improvement we have seen to the stadium paying for my bovril with contactless...


Rangers On Tour

Twitter - @RangersOnTour_


What does the title win mean for you?

It means we are back where we belong.


What was the lowest point in our journey back ?


When you knew that Ally McCoist had reached the end as Rangers Manager.


Favourite memory of the lower leagues?


The first few months of Mark Warburton. Sensational football to

watch but once teams got physical he had no answers


Apart from the old firm and league win what has been the highlight of the Gerrard era?

Our Europa runs. Also seeing we are the best footballing side in the country.


What should be the next goal for the club?


Lockdown the likes of Goldson, Tav, Kamara, Davis & McGregor to new deals.


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