Reformed Rangers meet Brechin in Challenge Cup
Fallen Glasgow giants Rangers are preparing for their first competitive match since the club was reformed as a new company following liquidation when they take on Brechin City in the Challenge Cup on Sunday.
It caps a humiliating fall from grace for the most successful club in Scottish football, who were plunged into crisis earlier this year after entering administration following a tax dispute.
The Old Firm club was relaunched as a new company, or newco, in June after the old company headed for liquidation when creditors rejected a company voluntary arrangement put forward by a consortium led by Charles Green.
It will be the Ibrox club's debut in the competition, which is only open to lower league teams in Scotland, after the Rangers new company were voted into the Third Division following their failed bid to get back into the Scottish Premier League.
However, some doubts still remain regarding the game, which cannot take place unless Rangers' owner, Sevco Scotland, attains some form of licence to play.
The bid by Sevco, which bought Rangers' assets when the club was consigned to liquidation, has stalled over its attempt to persuade the Scottish Premier League to abandon its investigation into alleged undisclosed payments to players under the previous regime.
However, it is understood that the SFA will grant temporary membership to the Ibrox club to allow the match to go ahead, if it agrees to certain conditions, including handing over the club's SPL member share to Dundee by next Friday.
Sevco must also legally accept previous sanctions imposed by the Scottish FA, which will see the club banned from signing new players for one year from September 1.
However, Rangers will be able to register up to two players as trialists for the Brechin City game under Challenge Cup rules.
And the club is likely to need to use them following a mass exodus of first team players, including Scottish internationals Steven Naismith, Allan McGregor and Steven Whittaker as well as former captain Steven Davis, from Ibrox after they refused to transfer their contracts to the Rangers newco.
While players such as Lee McCulloch, Maurice Edu and Lee Wallace remain at the club manager Ally McCoist is likely to have to rely on youth players for the match, which will be played at Brechin's 4000 capacity Glebe Park.
And first team coach Ian Durrant, himself a former product of the club's youth development programme, is confident promising youngsters such as Lewis Macleod, Robbie Crawford and Barrie McKay can help fire the club to glory this season after watching them in bounce matches against Airdrie United and Albion Rovers in recent weeks.
He said: "We've had a mixture of the experienced boys and the youth and they've been good workouts.
"Both games were really good tests. We've had to bring in young boys and fast track them but they have come in and been great.
"It reminds me when I made my debut many years ago when Rangers were building the stadium and they never had the funds to buy players.
"That came around due to circumstances and a small squad. But if you want to be successful you have to take any opportunities you get.
"It's a great advantage that they've played in the youth teams together and know each other's game.
"They are coming in as a group and it's just a case of them integrating with the first team, finding out how they play and being ready to face the demands.
"But they will be given every chance and I can see them being great Rangers players in the years to come."
Former Hearts players Ian Black, Craig Beattie and Kevin Kyle have all been training with Rangers this week and are expected to sign for the Ibrox club when they are granted SFA membership.
Brechin City v Rangers (1405 GMT)
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