Rangers’ club history is packed with success as the winningest football team in Scotland. The Ibrox outfit have won the top-flight title a record 55 times and lifted the League Cup a record 27 times. But financial issues in the 2010s forced a club established in 1872 to climb back up.
Four passionate young sportsmen founded Rangers after seeing local Glasgow team Queen’s Park play a new style of football in 1872. Brothers Moses and Peter McNeil with their friends Peter Campbell and William McBeath would set into motion the creation of the famous club.
Moses McNeil proposed Rangers as the club’s name after seeing an English rugby side of the era, Swindon Rangers. It immediately struck a chord with McNeil with the blue star on their white strips. While ‘rangers’ rhymes with ‘strangers’ to signify a community coming together.
Rangers have used a variety of badges throughout the club’s history and even use two as of today. The Gers use a crest featuring a lion and the team’s name for media and merchandise purposes. But a scroll design with only the letters ‘RFC’ below five stars features on their kit.
The current modernised badge first originated in 1968 before undergoing slight adjustments in 1991 and 2020. Rangers adapted the shades of blue and red used on their badge and the bordering lines. While the badge introduced in 1968 had a ball in the core for the first time.
As for the scroll design, it also first appeared in the 1960s and Rangers have used the design sporadically ever since. It features the letters ‘RFC’ superimposed onto each other. The club also added five stars to its design in 2003 to denote their 50th top-flight championship title.
The ‘RFC’ lettering also featured as a corporate logo before Rangers adopted an official club crest. Rangers used a circular design with a shield at its core from 1959 to 1968. A lion stood in the shield with a motto, ‘ready’. It also had ‘The Rangers Football Club’ on the outer circle.
Such was the influence of Swindon’s Victorian-era rugby team on McNeil, Rangers also used an all-white kit at first. The Gers also adopted an all-white strip for the 1876/77 Scottish Cup final. But a blue jersey with white shorts have been the club’s traditional colours since 1873.
Rangers have altered the design of their kit and experimented with black, red and blue socks throughout their history. The Gers also adopted a blue shirt featuring thin white hoops from 1879 to 1883. While Rangers also briefly used a white striped shirt between 1982 and 1984.
Rangers were a founding member of the Scottish Football League in 1890/91 and shared the first title with Dumbarton. The clubs finished an 11-team season level on 29 points and drew a play-off 2-2. The SFL did not implement goal average as the ultimate decider until 1921/22.
League football proved highly successful and the SFL introduced a second tier from 1883/84. But Rangers remained in the top-flight and went on to win four titles in a row from 1898 to 1902. Rangers also won the first rebranded Division A title in 1946/47 as the third tier began.
Rangers continued to be a dominant force in Scottish football through to their more barren years in the 1960s and 1970s. The Gers would go a decade without winning a top-flight title. But they won titles at the end of the Division One era and the start of the Premier Division.
A run of 10 titles in 11 seasons then later followed from 1986 to 1997, including the famous nine-in-a-row. But off-the-field problems brought Rangers’ financial demise and relegation to the fourth tier for the 2012/13 season. They won the fourth and third tiers at their first try.
Rangers’ trophy history is the best in Scotland with a record haul of 55 top-flight titles thus far. Steven Gerrard oversaw their most recent Premiership title in 2020/21 to see the crown return to Ibrox for the first time in a decade. They have won in all four professional divisions.
Ibrox teams have further won the League Cup a record 27 times. But Rangers have not won the title since 2010/11 with a 2-1 win after extra-time over Celtic. While the Gers have also won the Scottish Cup 34 times, most recently under Giovanni van Bronckhorst in 2021/22.
Players and managers
Rangers’ club history is full of legendary players and managers. Gers fans often debate who the top 10 Rangers legends of all time are with Ally McCoist and John Greig unquestionable names. But modern-day greats like Allan McGregor and James Tavernier also stake a claim.
McCoist firmly holds a place in Rangers’ history as the club’s all-time record goalscorer with 355 from 1983 to 1998. While Greig played a potentially insurmountable record 755 games from 1961 to 1978. McGregor, meanwhile, set the Gers’ record for European games at 109.
Rangers also named McCoist as their manager from 2011 to 2014 after serving as assistant manager to club legend Walter Smith since 2007. During those seven years, the Gers won a hat-trick of top-flight titles from 2008 to 2011 to add to the 10 that McCoist won as a player.