Andrew Little celebrates his second goal against East Stirling. (Reuters)
(UPDATE: Despite reports that Rangers set a world record for a fourth-tier match, they're still a ways behind Brazilian club Santa Cruz, who had as many as 59,966 fans for a Serie D match last season.)
Rangers fans showed their optimism and support for the post-liquidation club at the first match of the season -- a Scottish Communities League Cup first-round win against East Fife at Ibrox -- but they turned it into a new record on Saturday. After starting their Third Division (the fourth tier of Scottish football) campaign with a 2-2 draw at Peterhead, Rangers returned home to a crowd of 49,118 (11,000 more than the match against East Fife), setting a new record for attendance at a fourth tier match.
From The Scotsman:
Anyone doubting that Rangers' absence from the SPL will cost other clubs a pile of money should have been at Ibrox on Saturday.
Just a few seats short of a sell-out, the crowd of 49,118 filled Ibrox to the gunwales as the famous old place hosted something it had never seen before — Rangers in a league match that wasn't top flight.
Also made to look ridiculous were those who said the Rangers support would dwindle if faced with the reality of Third Division football. In a few short days the club has sold the truly remarkable figure of 33,000 season tickets and a more impressive display of loyalty to a club is hard to conceive.
"Not bad for a Third Division club," chief executive Charles Green told the crowd before the match, which Rangers won 5-1 after The Shire scored with a third-minute penalty. And as nice as a record in that first home league match sounds, as well as having a bigger crowd than some Premier League matches the same day, the truly important number is the 33,000 season tickets sold.
All that and the final result aside, the experience of playing in front of 49,118 people must have been pretty amazing for East Stirling. Last season they had the Third Division's lowest average attendance (321).
- Sports & Recreation