The Birth and Early Days

The Rangers Story: 1872-2015
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

In 1872, the brothers Peter and Moses McNeil, along with their friends William McBeath and Peter Campbell saw a group of men playing football on Glasgow Green's Flesher's Haugh and decided to form a team of their own.

Flesher's Haugh
 

The team's first game was in May of 1872 against Callander F.C. on Flesher's Haugh, which resulted in a 0-0 draw. Moses McNeil suggested the name Rangers after seeing the name in a book about English Rugby. Rangers only played two matches in their birth year and their second match was a comprehensive 11-0 win over a team named Clyde - not the present Clyde F.C.

Rangers began to grow into a more formal football club and in 1876, for the first time, a player was called up to play international football as Moses McNeil made his Scotland debut against Wales.

1876 Scottish Cup Team

 

In 1888 the now famous Old Firm fixture was born as Rangers met Celtic for the first time in a friendly match. Celtic beat Rangers 5-2. By 1890 the Scottish league was formed and Rangers enjoyed a victorious first season as they finished joint-top with Dumbarton and after a play-off match finished 2-2, the title was shared.

Rangers had to wait until 1894 to taste their first Scottish Cup success after losing to Vale of Leven in 1877 and 1879 but finally lifted the trophy for the first time after a 3-1 win over Celtic. Rangers even came close to winning the English FA Cup in 1887 when they lost to Aston Villa in the semi-final.

Rangers ended the nineteenth century with further Scottish Cup wins 1897 and 1898 and a League Championship win in 1899 during which they won every one of their 18 league matches. Rangers formally became a business company in 1899 and match secretary William Wilton was appointed as the clubs first manager. The club also appointed its first board of directors under the chairmanship of James Henderson. Rangers were well on their way to becoming one of Scotland's top clubs.

Part Two > Wilton and Struth