Rangers have clinched promotion to the Scottish Premiership for the first time in their history following their 1-0 win over Dumbarton at Ibrox on Tuesday night.
Mark Warburton’s men had the chance to win the league on Saturday but after slipping up against Raith Rovers, Ibrox would host the title party. Despite a scoreless first half, full back James Tavernier popped up in the 50th minute to score the only goal of the game and with it the league title.
After ‘traditional Rangers’ was liquidated following their failure to pay PAYE and VAT to HMRC on top of the potential liability over their Employee Benefit Trust scheme, life began in the Third Division after the new entity secured a licence from the Scottish FA after playing their first ever game as Sevco against Brechin City in the League Challenge Cup- thanks to the Scottish FA giving them a conditional membership to fulfill the tie. A game they won 2-1.
Two consecutive league titles followed by these were overshadowed by continued financial problems at the club, Fan boycotts, racism scandals and a convicted tax criminal in the guise of Dave King orchestrating a coup d’etat to secure control of the club without having to spend a penny.
Last season, with the Ibrox side in the Championship saw expectations high with the belief among many quarters that Ally McCoist’s side would secure promotion easily, however Hearts ripped up that fairytale to storm to the title leaving Rangers in third place behind Hibernian. During that season, McCoist was sent packing before Christmas as the club’s form was abysmal, while Kenny McDowall took over the reins on a temporary basis and oversaw a derby defeat in the League Cup semi final to Celtic – a game Ronny Deila’s side won 2-0 but the scoreline does not tell the story of the Premiership sides dominance that day with Rangers not mustering a single shot on goal at all.
With the title out of their reach, they had to navigate their way through the playoffs and Stuart McCall – now manager of Rangers after McDowall walked away from the post – guided the Ibrox side to the playoff final to face his former side Motherwell.
On show over the two legs at Ibrox and Fir Park was nothing short of an anhilation showing the gulf between the two sides as Motherwell romped to a 6-1 aggregate victory to consign Rangers to another season in the Championship. That game was marred by a pitch invasion from celebrating Well supportings mocking the devastated visitors at Fir Park following the final whistle and Bilel Moshni’s attack on Lee Erwin – which saw the Tunisian hit with a seven match ban.
Over the summer, McCall was dumped by the new board and former Brentford manager Mark Warburton was named manager. Their best decision made – under the guidance of Paul Murray – since the club’s assets were bought by Green who had re-formed the club with its name, crest and stadium.
Rangers, under Warburton, finally lived up to their favourites tag this season in the Championship despite a number of high-profile defeats and worries over their defending of late.
Their large fanbase, that tupe’d over from the liquidated club, will now cheer on the new entity in the Premiership for the first time.
The hard work for Warburton and his charges will begin over the summer as they look to strengthen in a bid to first and foremost secure their Premiership status and live up to the expectations of their own fans who will demand they challenge city neighbours Celtic – who have won the title for fourth successive years and are on course currently to win their fifth – although Aberdeen are giving Celtic a proper title challenge for the first time in years.
Rangers’ season isn’t over yet as they can win the Petrofac Training Cup for the first time in the four years they have entered the competition – with Peterhead standing in their way. They also have a Scottish Cup semi final game against Celtic later this month.
Congratulations Rangers on winning promotion.