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Glasgow is painted blue once again after Rangers win first title in 10 years

Rangers fans – Ibrox Stadium
(Image credit: Robert Perry)

They previously failed to pay the face painter. Now at last Rangers can say they have settled the debt owed to their loyal support by shading Glasgow blue.

Among the list of some 276 creditors left out of pocket when Craig Whyte plunged the club into a financial blackhole back in 2012 was Susan Thomson.

She was owed £40 after providing face-painting services at an Ibrox fun day – but the invoice went unpaid as the club spiralled towards disaster.

Rangers in action against Peterhead in 2012

Rangers went from winning titles to drawing with the likes of Peterhead in League Two (Phil Downie/PA

There were other small businesses affected too – a newsagent round the corner from the training ground, a picture framer, a taxi firm.

That was until Rangers fans cobbled together, digging into their own pockets, to make sure these small creditors got what they were owed.

Unfortunately for the Ibrox faithful, there was no way to raise the millions needed to satisfy the taxman’s concerns over David Murray’s disastrous EBT scheme and it was HMRC’s decision to reject a pence-in-the-pound deal which ultimately plunged Rangers down to the fourth tier.

Former boss Ally McCoist later described the Ibrox support as Rangers’ lifeblood as they clung on to life – and there is no doubt the club as we once knew it would never have made it back to the Premiership kicking and screaming without their ceaseless backing.

It was in the depths of the third division where a melodrama began that even the most outlandish Hollywood movie executive would have rejected on the grounds of it being ridiculously far-fetched.

There was no shortage of ‘baddies’ in the eyes of the Ibrox support, characters who they feel did little to nothing to assist the club on their long journey back to the top.

Craig Whyte

The Craig Whyte years were largely unhappy ones at Ibrox (Lynne Cameron/PA)

From Whyte, Charles Green, the Easdale brothers and Mike Ashley to Brendan Rodgers and Scott Brown – they all at various points stood in the way of the Light Blues reclaiming their former status as one of Scottish football’s true superpowers.

That all changed with Dave King’s return to the stage. With the a trio of fellow investors known as the ‘Three Bears’ as his supporting cast, their 2015 boardroom coup which ousted the hated regime in charge of the club at the time was the plot twist the Rangers supporters had been longing for.

That is not to say it was a happy-ever-ending from that point on.

A mortifying loss to Motherwell in the play-off final that year delayed their top-flight return by a year, while the new-look team constructed by Mark Warburton – then haphazardly rearranged by Pedro Caixinha – became a play thing for Rodgers’ rampant Celtic for a couple of seasons.

It was at this dark moment, on the back of a 4-0 Hampden hammering from the Hoops, that Steven Gerrard made his big entrance.

Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard has transformed Rangers into a title-winning team (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Welcomed to Glasgow by 8,000 fans, the new boss declared, ‘Let’s go’ as he set about repeating a transformation on par with the Souness revolution.

Except, his first two seasons were more a case of, ‘Let’s… take our time’. There were highs – runs in Europe and Old Firm derby triumphs – but the lows, like twice blowing up as the final straight in the title race came into sight, brought back fears Rangers would be cast forever as the lesser light to Celtic’s star attraction.

It is a little ironic then in a season played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gerrard’s team have finally smashed through the barriers and declared themselves champions in rampant style.

The fans might not have been there to see it live but perhaps that was a price worth paying to see their team at long last paint the town blue.