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From East Stirlingshire to Eintracht Frankfurt

Ten years ago Rangers were banished to the bottom tier of Scottish football and the return to the top was a long one.

On Wednesday they take on Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League final with the players having their shot at immortality – and you can listen to the match live on talkSPORT.


Rangers knocked out European giants en route to the final

A day like this would have seemed a million miles away when, in July 2012, the club went into liquidation and subsequently found themselves in Scotland’s Third Division.

Rather than blockbuster matches with Celtic and European heavyweights, they had to get used to Brechin, Annan and Falkirk.

Their first home game in the fourth tier was played in front of almost 50,000 fans at Ibrox, a division record, as they beat East Stirlingshire 5-1.

Rangers legend Ally McCoist led them to back-to-back promotions as they rose through the Scottish Championship in 2014.

Their rise continued as Mark Warburton then returned them to the top flight two seasons later, four after reaching league depths.

All the while, Celtic rivals Celtic were setting many records, winning the treble and winning ten league titles in a row.

It took them a few seasons to become competitive in the Scottish Premiership before Steven Gerrard led them to their first league title in a decade last season to complete the comeback, but now their redemption has reached even greater heights.

From East Stirlingshire to Eintracht Frankfurt


Gerrard ended Rangers’ ten-year wait for their 55th title and prevented Celtic from securing the prestigious ten in a row

An incredible run in the Europa League saw them knock out powerhouses like Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig, with another German side standing in their way to the final.

There are 100,000 Rangers fans expected to make the trip to Sevilla – some even coming from Tangier in Morocco, says talkSPORT’s Alex Crook. And McCoist still doesn’t believe that’s really happening.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am. It’s remarkable,” McCoist told talkSPORT Breakfast.

“I never expected to see him again in my lifetime. Especially in this tournament with the best clubs in the Champions League.

“Rangers and clubs like that don’t have the right to make the final. They need to play well, have a bit of luck and show a lot of spirit, and that’s exactly what ‘they did.

“When you think about it, beating Dortmund over two legs, home and away, beat Leipzig in an incredible game at home.

“It’s really unbelievable.

From East Stirlingshire to Eintracht Frankfurt


Rangers fans may have thought games like this would never come back

“They will be immortal these boys if they achieve that. I sincerely mean it, I think it will be one of the greatest achievements in British football. I really do.

“Just the way the odds are stacked against the teams.

“We knocked out a Leipzig team that was worth £250m and ours was worth £13m. This shouldn’t happen.

“I’m clearly hopeful and very optimistic as well. I hope everyone will enjoy it and make it a wonderful occasion.

Graeme Souness was player-manager of Rangers between 1986 and 1991 and believes their return to the top is a mark of the club’s incredible quality.

From East Stirlingshire to Eintracht Frankfurt


Van Bronckhorst has done a brilliant job at Rangers

He told Sky Sports: “It’s really huge and it’s also a unique story. If you go back to ten years ago when they were kicked out of the big leagues and nearly went bankrupt completely, the people enjoyed it a lot.

“Their path has been a long, slow journey. Then in ten years, they are in the final of a European competition. This tells you everything you need to know about this football club. Everyone connected with the club deserves big credit for where Rangers meet on May 18. »

It was a remarkable story for the Rangers to reach such heights just ten years after almost disappearing from existence.

Just one more hurdle to overcome before achieving greatness.

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