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The Rangers Football Club was founded in 1872 and had very humble beginnings. Four young men came together that fateful day to form a team never thinking how far it would go from there. They had no money to fund the team and not even a ball to play with. What they did have was a love for the game and a strong desire to have a team of their own.
The founders of the Rangers were Peter and Moses McNeil, Peter Campbell, and William McBreath. These men came together and played their first match against Callander FC at Flesher’s Haugh on Glasgow Green. This first match was an open match open to any who could show up. Their team played in street clothes with a second hand ball and the result was a 0-0 tie.
The team took the name the Rangers from a prominent English rugby club of the day and by their second match they not only had a name but had begun wearing the light blue that they still wear today. From hear the team continued to progress forward with a formal fixture match and practice sessions. Their first season was outside the Scottish Football Association and as such they were not able to play in the first Scottish Cup. At this point the team was still fairly informal and very much a family experience.
1878 was a breakthrough year for the Rangers as it saw the team reach their first Scottish Cup Final. They were not victorious, but getting their and fighting for three matches against Vale of Leven was a testament to the strength of the team. In 1879 they came back to compete against Vale of Leven again, but were once again not the victors. This match ended differently as the team protested a disallowed goal and refused to show up for the replay. It would be another ten years before the team would accomplish anything of consequence, although they did manage to make it to the semi finals of the FA Cup in 1887. The next year saw the start of something truly historic in Scottish football as the Old Firm was established when the Rangers met Celtic in a friendly match in May of 1888.
The old firm would come to define not only the Rangers and Celtic, but most of Scottish football. In 1890 the Scottish League Championship was started up. The Rangers finished as runners up in 1892-93, 1895-96, and 1896-97. During this time they were able to capture their first Scottish Cup in 1894 with a 3-1 defeat of bitter rival Celtic. They then went on to win two consecutive cups in 1897 and were beginning to establish themselves as a powerhouse in Scottish Football.
One of the greatest time periods for the team was right around the corner and began when in 1919 William Struth was brought in as the number two for the Rangers. This marked the beginning of an era of dominance that lasted until 1939. During this time period the team captured an astounding 14 titles. The team was the most popular in all of Scotland and perhaps all of Great Britain.
With the outbreak of World War II play was suspended until 1946. The team continued its dominance through this time period winning 10 championships by the mid 60s. They also managed to capture 10 Scottish Cups during this same period. However the 60s saw a bit of a decline for them team until their historic Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972. This is currently their first and only European Trophy. After this they continued their winning ways and captured nine league titles in a row from 1988 to 1996.
The team continues to play in the top league in Scotland, and while the sectarian nature of the rivalry between them and Celtic has dimmed a bit, the on the field rivalry is still as intense and hard fought. For as long both teams exist, the Old Firm will be the most anticipated and hard fought match of the season.