In 1972 the Rangers were at the pinnacle of European football—winning the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup at the Camp Nou and competing in the first ever Super Cup game with then European Cup winners and total football pioneers, Ajax.
Forty years on, the club is now playing under vastly different circumstances. The Rangers were once competing with the biggest clubs in world football—this weekend sees Ally McCoist’s Gers take on third division title rivals Elgin City.
The world’s most decorated and successful football club (with their record 54 league titles) has gone from the UEFA Cup final to facing off against part-timers in only five years—quite some fall from taking on Ajax in the European Super Cup.
Despite this substantial slump, Rangers' admirable ambition shows no signs of disappearing. While most Rangers fans expected to be watching a team of under-19s line up alongside loyal stars Lee McCulloch and Lee Wallace, McCoist’s eight summer signings would be enough to strike fear in to the hearts of most SPL clubs, let alone the Rangers’ third division rivals.
The addition of some of the SPL’s finest talents, Black, Shields and Templeton, as well as former Serie A defender Emilson Cribari and former AEK Athens star Anestis Agyriou, show the rest of Scottish football that the Rangers mean business.
With a formidable squad that would more than compete in the top flight of Scottish football, Rangers appear to have more than just the third division title in their sights this season.
The Govan faithful see the Ramsdens Cup as a must-win tournament, and McCoist’s men are likely to be aiming to add this season’s Scottish and League Cups to the club’s illustrious list of honours.
Throughout their proud 140 year history, Rangers Football Club has maintained the highest of expectations and an unrivalled sense of ambition. Rangers may no longer be at the top of European football, but one thing is for sure: the Rangers philosophy of "No Surrender" will never die.