Rangers F.C. was hoping to make a return to the top flight of Scottish soccer and making it a third straight season ending in promotion. But the Glasgow club will have to wait another year to try and make it back to the Scottish Premier League.
If you don’t know that back story of Rangers F.C. here’s a short breakdown. The club used to be known as Glasgow Rangers and is the most successful club in Scottish soccer history. But after years of overspending and signing players to huge contracts in order to try and stay level with clubs in the European competitions, Glasgow Rangers went into liquidation and had to start over in the Scottish League Two (fourth tier) as Rangers F.C.
After two straight promotion campaigns, Rangers competed in the Scottish Championship (second tier) and made it to the promotion playoffs where they came up against Motherwell. Rangers fell 6-1 on aggregate, as Motherwell dominated both games. They beat Rangers at Ibrox Stadium 3-1 and then 3-0 in the return leg at home on Sunday.
Rangers’ journey back toward the Scottish Premier League has been exciting, and not many clubs have over 40,000 in the stands in a fourth-tier game. The fans have stood by the club throughout the whole ordeal and the club is now financially sound.
Now it’s up to the club to try and find a couple of signings that makes them better while staying within their budget. They had a couple of well-known players in the squad this season like vice-captains Lee Wallace and Lee McCulloch, who both have been with Rangers since before the forced relegation and stuck with the club through the hard times. Rangers has a good relationship with English Premier League side Newcastle and had a couple of players on loan including Slovenian midfielder Haris Vuckic and Northern Ireland international Shane Ferguson.
Striker Kris Boyd returned to Rangers after leaving the club in 2010 after scoring 101 goals in 143 games for the club. Boyd struggled to find the net this season and only scored three league goals in 30 appearances.
Hearts FC was the runaway champion of the Scottish Championship this season, winning the league with 91 points, 21 points ahead of second-placed Hibernian. Rangers finished third with 67 points and a record of 19 wins, 10 draws and 7 losses.
Rangers beat fourth-placed Queen of the South in the first playoff round 3-2 on aggregate after winning the first leg 2-1 and drawing 1-1 at home in the second leg. In the second playoff round, they squeezed by Hibernian 2-1 on aggregate after a 2-0 win at home and a 1-0 loss in the second game.
Motherwell had a disappointing season in the SPL and finished second from the bottom with a measly 36 points in 38 games. But they were clearly the better team over the two legs against Rangers and survived to play their 31st consecutive season in the top flight next season.
Rangers’ manager Stuart McCall took over the club in March after replacing Kenny McDowall. McCall spent seven seasons with Rangers as a player during the 1990s and made 265 appearances. His contract is now up and it remains to be seen if he’ll be given the opportunity to take Rangers back to the SPL.
Seeing a classic club like Rangers struggle because of bad ownership is always a sad thing, and not having them square off against their big cross-town rivals Celtic in the Old Firm derby is a loss for Scottish soccer.
But with a good offseason and some useful signings, Rangers will be fighting for promotion again next season.