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Rangers is one of the oldest football clubs in Scotland and has a rich history. The club has the distinction of having an excellent stadium at the Ibrox, which is only one of the handful to have received Uefa’s five star ratings
Despite the lucrative cash accrued as a result of qualifying for the Champions League as well as the money that their title win brought in last season, Rangers have had financial problems that have placed a big barrier on further signings.
However manager Walter Smith has a strong squad in the form of Steven Davis, Pedro Mendes, Kevin Thomson and Maurice Edu. All these four players are expected to dominate the mid-field as Rangers seek to defend their title.
Other players to watch out for include Madjid Bougherra, Kris Boyd and David Weir.
After four years, Rangers finally managed to wrest the SPL title from Old Firm rivals Celtic last season. The club though was in trouble early on when they crashed out of Europe after falling to FBK Kaunas in the qualifying stage of the Champions League.
Manager Walter Smith was forced to discipline former skipper Barry Ferguson and goalkeeper Alan McGregor for their misconduct during an international game and has since allowed Ferguson to join Birmingham City. Christian Dailly, Brahim Hemdani, Alan Gow and Charlie Adam have been allowed to leave the club.
1873 is the date widely recognized as the beginning of Rangers Football Club, however the club had played 2 matches the previous year after 4 friends decided to create their very own football team. Brothers Peter and Moses McNeil who would later become Rangers first international player, together with friends William McBeath and Peter Campbell arranged for two matches that first year. The first was a disorganized affair in which they drew 0-0 with Callander F.C. However by their second game they had donned the infamous blue strip and had taken the name of Rangers to represent the name of the club. The first organized match against Clyde resulted in an 11-0 victory and Rangers were finally on their way to becoming one of the most famous Scottish football clubs winning a host of trophies over the next century.
Rangers were to take nearly 20 years to win their first honours when they became League champions in 1891. The significance of the title is also that it was the first and last time that the Scottish Football League was shared between two clubs when a winner could not be found between Rangers and Dumbarton. Each had the privilege of the trophy for six months before Dumbarton won the League the following year.
Since sharing their first trophy Rangers have gone on to win a host of others and to this date remain the most honored football teams in the world, having amassed a total of 107 trophies and making their trophy room one of the most famous in the world. Along the way they have achieved many records including having achieved the most domestic League Championships which now totals 51, some of which helped the club to achieve a record 7 domestic trebles.
At the same time Rangers have also made their mark in Europe and hold the record of competing in European competitions 46 times so far, which is more than any other British club. They were also the first Scottish club to progress to the group stages of both the Champions League and the UEFA Cup.
2007/8 proved to be a season of contrasts. Once again challenging on four fronts, progress in the Scottish Premiership was not matched in the Champions League and they eventually dropped into the UEFA Cup. The first silverware of the season headed back to Ibrox stadium in the form of the Scottish League Cup following their victory over Dundee Utd following a 2-2 draw and a penalty shoot-out. They doubled their trophy tally by completing the domestic cup double although only after brave challenge from lowly Queen Of The South who couldn’t quite manage to complete the dream cup run and lost 3-2. Those were the highs. Unfortunately, the lows overcast the highs as Celtic once again claimed the league title ensuring victory on the final day of the season. A fantastic run in the UEFA Cup saw Rangers reach the final which was to be played in Manchester of all places and which resulted in a six-figure exodus from the Blue side of Glasgow. The 2-0 defeat at the hands of Zenit St Petersburg was one thing but the violence and attacks on police that followed brought the club some very unwanted negative publicity.
Smith was determined not to let the disappointment of the end of the previous season deter him from pursing glory once again. Ex-Celtic player Kenny Miller arrived from relegated Derby County. Also added to the squad were Aaron Niguez (loan from Valencia), Madjid Bougherra (Chalrton), and Kyle Lafferty (Burnley), as well as Lithuanian Andrius Velicka who joined from Viking Stavanger of Norway after impressing in his previous spell in Scotland with Hearts. Fresh from picking up his English FA Cup winners’ medal with Portsmouth, Pedro Mendes was Smith’s sixth signing that season.
While last season proved to be sweet revenge for Rangers, fans fear that Celtic will bounce back and that with no money to spend, their team may have a tough time this season.
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