The “journey” Rangers were on during their four years out with Scottish football’s top flight wasn’t always received in glowing terms.
There were challenges along the way.
But the players, coaches and fans who traveled from Stranraer to Peterhead were treated to experiences that will live long in the memory.
Former Rangers boss Ally McCoist has spoken in glowing terms about his side’s visit to Annan Athletic’s Galabank, even if he was left sweating over his team talk!
And now the Premiership champions are heading back to a venue they visited en route to the top flight in the last 16 of the Scottish Cup.
The strip remains the same but the names have changed with Juventus loan star Aaron Ramsey set for his first start.
RecordSport has delved into the archives and here’s Scott McDermott’s interview with McCoist from Sunday, January 2, 2013, as the then Ibrox boss waxed glowingly about his experiences in the lower leagues.
Ally McCoist knew Rangers were in SFL3 when he turned up at Annan and their chairman Henry McLelland gave him a tour of the Galabank social club BEFORE he could give his side their team-talk.
But the Ibrox gaffer insists the Third Division outfit then gave them their toughest test of the season by grinding out a 0-0 draw.
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McCoist had never been to Annan before Rangers visit in September and admits it was a culture shock for him and his players.
But he hopes they’re now used to trips into Scottish football’s unknown and can pick up three points against Athletic today.
McCoist said: “Annan was the one for me. Getting off the bus there was absolutely brilliant. One minute we were in a housing estate, we took a left turn and we were at the stadium.
“Once I got over the shock, I had a wee smile.
“If that’s how it made me feel, you better believe the boys were feeling like that as well.
“But what a welcome we got. Their chairman is fantastic, what a boy he is. He was giving me a tour of the social club and I had to say ‘I’ll need to go in and give my talk to the team’.
“He said ‘you can do that later, come in and meet the boys’. He did it in the nicest possible way and they were brilliant at Annan, so friendly.
“But they gave us arguably the toughest game we’ve had all season. We lost at Stirling Albion but I’ve watched that game twice and we should have scored about 10.
“At Annan we didn’t play and didn’t create anything. It was a real disappointment but they played well.
“So we want to go down there and do a lot better than we did last time.”
McCoist is convinced Annan’s artificial pitch played a part in the ankle injury which forced winger David Templeton to miss 10 weeks of action earlier in the campaign.
He revealed it’s difficult for his side to get used to playing on plastic because the surfaces are different at Annan, Clyde, Montrose and East Stirling.
McCoist said: “I spoke to the medical boys and they said the surface definitely played a part in David’s injury.
“But it’s like falling off a bike and I’d hope that’s the way for Temps – he’s got to get back out there and play.
“The bigger boys, like Kevin Kyle, find it a bit more difficult than the smaller ones. That will probably have a bearing on my selection.
“Are we getting used to the pitches? Yes and no, because they’re all different, which sounds crazy.”
And looking back to the start they’ve had in Scottish football’s bottom tier, he’s been pleased with Rangers’ progress.
McCoist said: “I’ve been embarrassed by our level of performance at the likes of Stirling and Annan because it just wasn’t good enough.
“But I haven’t been embarrassed by any of our defeats, because that shows disrespect for opponents.
“I was annoyed that we weren’t getting victories away from home and it was something we had to sort out, so winning at Clyde was a turning point for us.”