Today should have been a celebration of a successful season as Rangers were presented with the League One trophy at the conclusion of this afternoon’s visit to Ibrox of Stranraer – but instead there will be a sombre and subdued mood following the death of Ibrox legend Sandy Jardine.
There will be a one-minute silence prior to kick-off and every player will wear the Number Two figure on their shorts in tribute to the full-back, who adorned the No. 2 jersey for so long.
As to the game itself, on what is sure to be an emotional day before a near-capacity crowd for all involved in the game, Andy Little may return, having played for 63 minutes in an Under-20 League game against Kilmarnock on Tuesday evening.
The Northern Ireland Internationalist last featured for the first team in the title-clinching game at Ibrox against Airdrieonians on 12th March.
Andy was the club’s leading League goalscorer last season – but so unlucky has be been with injury this year that he has scored just six goals in 17 starts – and will be desperate to feature in the final home game of the season.
With two games remaining, Rangers have the incentive of aiming to reach 100 points whilst at the same time retaining their unbeaten League record.
Stranraer themselves have plenty to play for – currently lying third in the table, they are close to securing a Play-Off place.
The Stair Park side were the first to take points from Ally McCoist’s side this season – a last-minute Jamie Longworth goal securing a 1-1 draw at Ibrox on Boxing Day.
Stranraer merited their draw that day – although Rangers should undoubtedly have seen the game out.
Richard Foster will this afternoon wear the No. 2 jersey that Sandy wore with such distinction – and the full-back, speaking before the sad news of Jardine’s passing broke, reflected on the changes at the club since his last spell at Ibrox in Season 2010-11 when the SPL title and the Scottish League Cup were won.
“So much has changed since my last spell at the club – but the weight of expectation from the fans remains the same,” he said.
“I remember the 2010-11 Championship-winning game at Kilmarnock when we were 3-0 up inside six minutes. I was a substitute that day.”
The League may have been won – but there have been regrets along the way, none more so in a playing sense than in recent week with defeats at the hands of Raith Rovers at Easter Road and of course elimination from the Scottish Cup.
“It’s been a topsy-turvy season We should have won the Challenge Cup Final and the semi-final against Dundee United,” he added.
“We expected to win – even against United. We created so many chances – it could have been a different outcome.”
Looking ahead to next season, Ricky acknowledged that a serious challenge awaits the Ibrox men if a third successive promotion is to be secured.
He continued;“Next season in the Championship teams will be fitter and technically better.
“There’s not a great gulf between the Championship and the Premiership.”