1997-99 Rangers Home Shirt Size Extra Small
Era: 1997-99 (Used for the 1997-98 Scottish Premier Division season, the 1998 Scottish League Cup Final, 1998-99 Scottish Premier League season, the 1998 Scottish League Cup Final, and the 1999 Scottish Cup Final)
As expected with the territory, given the age of the shirt, there is a lot of wear and bobbling; particularly on the collar and the sleeves. With that being said, it doesn’t take very much away from the quality and majesty of this classic shirt, if anything, the wear adds to the rustic charm and age of the shirt.
Size: Extra Small
Pit to Pit Measurement: 19 inches
Shirt Length: 26.5 inches
Made in the first iteration of the Nike ‘Dri-Fit’ range used in the late 90’s; this shirt provides excellent dimensions for a size small football shirt by today’s measurements.
Taking the reins from Adidas, Nike had their work cut out for them in bettering the classic half a decade of shirts made for Rangers by Adidas; Nike however, would rise to the challenge and create a classic of their own! Keeping the collar from the last Adidas shirt, this classy shirt would feature two tones of navy, wonderfully supplemented with red and black accents. This shirt would be the last to feature McEwan’s Lager as the club’s main shirt sponsor, not to mention would be the last (or only) Rangers shirt to be worn by the legends: Ally McCoist, Andy Goram, Stuart McCall, Brian Laudrup, Paul Gascoigne, Joachim Bjorklund, Peter van Vossen and Gennaro Gattuso. Most memorably however, would be that this was the shirt worn as Rangers completed a phenomenal domestic treble in the 1998-99 season!
After winning a 9th successive Scottish Premier Division; Walter Smith’s Rangers would look to make it 10 in a row in the final iteration of the Scottish Premier Division! Italy would be the main source of recruitment ahead of the 1997-98 season with: Lorenzo Amoruso, Sergio Porrini, Marco Negri, Jonas Tern and Gennaro Gattuso all coming in from the Italian Peninsula.
The league season started with 8 wins out of their opening 11 games, including a 1-0 win over Celtic on November 8th 1997 in the first Old Firm Derby of the season. Uncharacteristically, the team would be best by inconsistent league form; starting with 4 draws in their next 6 league games, before 1998 began ominously with a 2-0 defeat away to Celtic in the 3rd Old Firm Derby of the season.
It would not be until April that the club finally put together a win streak of more than 2 games together as St Johnstone, Dunfermline, Hibernian and Celtic were beaten in succession. 7 days prior to beating Celtic in the league on April 12th 1998; they would defeat their fierce rivals in the Scottish Cup semi-final to take their place in the final against Hearts on May 16th.
On March 26th, the club waved goodbye to the departing Paul Gascoigne; as the man affectionately known as ‘Gazza’ made the short trip south of the border to join Middlesbrough. The win over Celtic drew both sides level on 66 points each at the summit of the division with 4 games to play; however, Rangers would see their dream of 10 straight titles ended as they could only muster 2 wins, thus, handing the title to Celtic by just 2 points. A disappointing season would culminate with a stunning defeat to Hearts in the Scottish Cup Final in Walter Smith’s final game in charge of ‘The Gers’ after 7 fantastic seasons at the helm.
Ahead of the debut of the Scottish Premier League; Dick Advocaat took his place as Rangers’ new manager as the club looked to eviscerate the memory of the 1997-98 season. Smith wasn’t the only major departure, the likes of: Ally McCoist, Andy Goram, Stuart McCall, Brian Laudrup, Alan McLaren, Joachim Bjorklund and Peter van Vossen all left the club as well. The new era would welcome: Arthur Numan, Gabriel Amato, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Andrei Kanchelskis, Lionel Charbonnier, Rod Wallace, Daniel Prodan and Colin Hendry.
The Advocaat era would begin with a 1-0 defeat against Hearts, no less, however they’d go unbeaten in their next 9 league games; winning 6 to go top by 2 points. They’d also reach the final of the Scottish League Cup, which they would win on November 29th! The win would be slightly marred as their league form slightly tailed off; most notably losing 5-1 to Celtic on November 21st, and then on December 8th, they would bow out of the UEFA Cup in the 3rd Round against Parma.
In spite of the aberrations, Rangers would still stay top of the SPL, and after their 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock on December 5th; they would go on to win 10 of their next 11 games to now sit 10 points clear of 2nd place Celtic. On April 11th 1999, Rangers would return to the final of the Scottish Cup; giving them the chance to erase the demons of their 1998 heartbreak on May 26th.
In their Scottish Cup Final dress rehearsal, Rangers would secure SPL title when they defeated Celtic 3-0 at Celtic Park, before officially ending the season with a margin of 6 points in their favour. A magical season would be capped off when Rod Wallace scored the decisive goal in the Scottish Cup Final as Rangers defeated Celtic 1-0 and win their first domestic treble since the 1992-93 season!
The notable players that season(s) were:
Marco Negri, Gordon Durie, Ally McCoist, Gabriel Amato, Jonatan Johansson, Sebastian Rozental, Peter van Vossen, Rod Wallace, Stephane Guivarc’h, Andrei Kanchelskis, Brian Laudrup, Paul Gascoigne, Barry Ferguson, Charlie Miller, Ian Durrant, Ian Ferguson, Stuart McCall, Genaro Gattuso, Jorg Albertz, Claudio Reyna, Neil McCann, Sergio Porrini, Lorenzo Amoruso, Alex Cleland, Richard Gough, Jonas Thern, Stale Stensaas, Craig Moore, Tony Vidmar, Arthur Numan, Colin Hendry, Andy Goram, Stefan Klos, Antti Niemi, Lionel Charbonnier
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