ALLY McCoist admits today’s trip to Glebe Park will bring back “special” memories for his Rangers side. Brechin City were the Ibrox team’s first opponents following their liquidation and demotion to the bottom rung of Scottish football in July 2012.
The fallen side were only granted a licence to play the Ramsdens Cup first-round tie two days before the match. And things did not exactly run smoothly on the pitch either as McCoist’s side were forced into extra-time by Brechin before they could secure a 2-1 win.
But the new League One champions now return to Angus for the second time this season after they were given an another scare back in October when they had to come back from two goals down to win 4-3.
Now with his side guaranteed promotion to the Championship, McCoist was able to reflect on the start of their journey back to the top and their return to Glebe Park and its famous hedge.
He said: “We’re going back up to where it all started for us. We played Brechin in the Ramsdens Cup at the beginning of last season.
“It’s a special place for Rangers now and the guys up there have been great to us. Their chairman Ken Ferguson and the others who run the club are fantastic but once the first whistle goes it will be different.
“We saw that the last time we were up there. Dearie me, it was an incredible game and it will be the same this time.”
Rangers were barred from playing friendlies before that Ramsdens clash as the club’s off-field collapse left McCoist’s struggling to hold the club together.
But this season they have stormed to the League One title without losing a game.
However, the manager knows they will have to step up performances next term if they want to escape the Championship at the first attempt.
He said: “We are stronger than we were last year but then again, we will have to improve again if we want to get ourselves back up the leagues.”
Brechin City manager Ray McKinnon will look for his patched-up side to again do what no other League One side has done and that is to score against Rangers when they are on their travels.
In their 14 away games so far this season the Ibrox side have won all 14 and the only occasion that their defence was breached was at Glebe Park back in October.
McKinnon’s side scored three times that day as they led 2-0 early on and then 3-1 at half time, however Nicky Clark struck the winner with five minutes to go with the Brechin boss saying: “It is amazing to think that we are the only side to score on home turf against Rangers. We scored three that day and came very close to getting a win but they were relentless in the second half.”
“Our two games at Ibrox were close as well. On the opening day of the season Rangers beat us 4-1 but they scored two late on after we had a man sent off. The next game they won 2-1 but we ran them very close after Bilel Mohsni was dismissed. Hopefully we can keep our run of scoring in every game going and perhaps get the win this time.”
The Glebe Park side were expected to be challenging for promotion this season after a positive reaction to McKinnon’s appointment back in October 2012 that saw them climb from second bottom to third.
However it looks like there will be no promotion push this year with McKinnon saying: “That 4-3 Rangers game sums up our season in that we promised a lot and then fallen short. The reason we have not done so well is down to injuries.”
“We have never been able to play the same team twice and had key men like Ewan Moyes and Alan Trouten missing for long spells. We have possibly five players out for this one and that has been the case most weeks.”
McKinnon added: “The play-offs look beyond us now but scoring and winning against Rangers would set us up for a decent end to the season.”
Former Dundee United and Scotland defender Garry Kenneth, Moyes, Stephen Robb and on-loan Dundee United midfielder Darren Petrie who has been playing as a make-shift left back are all out with one-time Rangers youngster Derek Carcary struggling.