TODAY’S deadline for clubs to meet Uefa licensing requirements will pass without Rangers making the grade, next season will be the first without European football for the Ibrox club for 30 years, since they finished fifth in the league back in 1980.
Rangers will be excluded on the grounds that they are in administration, cannot sign off on audited accounts and owe “social taxes” and “football creditors”.
Since they welcomed Nice to Ibrox for their first European Cup tie in 1956, the Glasgow giants have missed five seasons of continental competition. Rangers failed to qualify for the following season’s European tournaments in 1958/59 (Rangers had finished runners-up but Hearts won the league to take the sole spot), 1964/65 (finished fifth), 1973/74 (finished third), 1980/81 (fifth).
Rangers were banned by Uefa from European competition after crowd trouble marred their 3-2 Cup Winners’ Cup final triumph in Barcelona in 1972, meaning the club were unable to defend what remains their sole major European trophy. They did go on to face European champions Ajax in the inaugural European Super Cup in the 1972/73 season, losing 6-3 on aggregate to the Dutch side. However, the two-legged contest was not recognised by Uefa due to the ban they had imposed on Rangers.