THE opening line is a nod to history as much as a look into the future. The work and words from Martyn Ramsay will surely have to be altered one day, and neither the author nor any of his fellow Rangers supporters that have contributed to it would have any qualms about it.

“By the time you open this book I dearly hope that it is out of date, that more great European nights and Old Firm victories have been experienced or you have even seen some trophies won,” Ramsay writes in ‘The 50 Greatest Rangers Games’. The best could yet be to come.

The task of compiling such a list is a thankless, almost impossible, but no less intriguing and timeless one. These pages have attempted to do so in the past and while the top spot – the win over Dynamo Moscow in 1972 – is perhaps the obvious choice, the remainder of the places will evoke emotion and spark debate.

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A vote from listeners of the Heart and Hand podcast was used to determine the placings, with each fan submitting their ten choices and points being awarded to each fixture. More than 170 games made the not so short list before the final 50 was discovered.

It is a snapshot of where Rangers are and where they have been but the most important, the most cherished, 90 minutes may still have to be played. Many of the choices reflect the importance of the occasion rather than the quality of the action and the game that sees Rangers lift their 55th league title would arguably be the most significant and celebrated in the illustrious history that Ramsay has brought back to life.

“I think it might just take it, it might take the top spot,” Ramsay told Herald and Times Sport as attentions turn to a fixture whose time, place and opponent have yet to be decided but the gravity of which cannot be underestimated. “You have more than one generation of Rangers fans now that have been given a perspective that I don’t even think my dad’s generation understood, for example.

“I don’t think it was quite the same in 1987, although they had gone a few years without the title and during Celtic’s nine-in-a-row, we won a European trophy during that time.

"This has been unprecedented in post-War history. Given the struggle, given the time away, it will be momentous and, quite rightly, would sit at the very top.”

For this generation of supporters, the game that wins the next title will surely be the greatest of all but there are entries for two recent Old Firm victories in the list. The Scottish Cup shoot-out success and 1-0 win at Ibrox under Steven Gerrard both feature, even though they ultimately didn’t contribute to silverware being won.

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Recent years have been barren for Rangers but the passion for the club, that feeling of belonging to something special has never diminished for those that yearn for a return to the glory times. The book is a delve into the memory as goals, celebrations and personnel tales are replayed in the mind and those words written and stories told that are passed down through families are vital to keeping the connection between club and support.

“It is the only link that we have at the moment,” Ramsay said. “I would hate to be a father at this minute in time with an eight or nine-year old with just nothing to show them other than these stories and past glories. But it can provide fuel, it can keep a flame burning, until they have their own to savour.”

The nine-in-a-row era naturally dominates Ramsay’s list and 15 games played between August 1988 and May 1997 feature. Coincidentally, at the time of writing last May, the average age of voter in the poll was the same as it’s author at 38 years and five months.

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“It is important that, certainly at this club, when you are taken to your first game it is not something to pass an afternoon,” Ramsay said. “You are carrying on something that goes back generations and if that story can be told in a good and engaging way then it keeps that flame lit until there is ignition. Then, like I was when Graeme Souness came, it goes into another stratosphere. That is why we are here.

“Football is never complete. Nobody picks up the ball and that is it. Even when you are successful, you will lose, and it will be someone else’s turn. It is that hope that it will turn that keeps you going.”

The challenge in putting together such a list, especially for a club like Rangers, is not what to include but what to leave out. There will always be debates and quirks like, in this instance, why do 18 Old Firm fixtures make the top 50 but only four feature in the best 20 games?

The presence of two defeats – the Cup Winners’ Cup final against Fiorentina and UEFA Cup final lost to Zenit St Petersburg – stood out as unusual but were worthy of their places alongside famous continental wins over the likes of Bayern Munich, Leeds United and Dynamo Kiev.

The first British team and the last Scottish side to reach a European final should not go overlooked, even if it is somewhat counterintuitive to acknowledge defeat at a club that is built on winning. Different games, after all, mean different things to different people.

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“It is part of the fun and that is where the subjectivity comes in,” Ramsay said. “Would this be different at a club other than Rangers who don’t define themselves by trophies? I wonder if, at other clubs, they would bring in the more aesthetically pleasing games?

“There are some grim football matches in there, but they were significant. Rangers are a results club and they ended up in silverware.”

Other matches of historical or emotional significance also feature. The first game against Callander takes 24th position and while there is no place for the outings at Brechin or Peterhead, the win over East Fife – the first match back at Ibrox after the tumultuous summer of 2012 – comes in at 35 and carries its own resonance to the support.

“It is never definitive, it is the views of the listeners, it is democracy,” Ramsay said. “It wasn’t my intention to give you my greatest games and tell you why I am right.

“I have always enjoyed reading these things as a point of history, really, whether it is to do with football, movies, music, or whatever else.

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“At this point, of May 2019, I hope it is of interest and hopefully in years to come this shows where the Rangers support was and where their minds where in terms of what still resonated with them, what had gone out of fashion, what had gone out of the memory.

“It was still quite emotional, quite raw, around 2012 and I wonder what that will be like in five or ten years? It is a live thing, it always is, and it was just of interest to see where we were at that point in time.”

Given events of recent years - the angst, the anger at episodes both on the park and off it, both at Ibrox and further afield – it would have been easy for the Rangers family to fracture. The bond from fan to fan, from support to team has been tested more than at any other club but the trials and tribulations, whilst never to be forgotten, will serve as a reminder to cherish success whilst striving for the next one.

“I was 17-and-a-half before I knew what a season without winning a trophy is like,” Ramsay said. “That shapes you. It is just onto the next one.

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“We are a support that does revere some things but my concern, and looking at what came through, is that there are eras being lost and that should be a concern. The 150th anniversary is coming up and that is as good a time as any to do what we can to capture that history and bring it alive.”

*The 50 Greatest Rangers Games is written by Martyn Ramsay and published by DB Publishing. ISBN: 978-1-78091-598-2. Available from