There is a sense among Glasgow Rangers fans that the “natural order” of things has been restored after the club finally clambered its way back into Scottish football’s top division.
A number of supporters told of their delight and relief at the news of the promotion, clinched courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Dumbarton on Tuesday.
It ends a long period in the lower leagues, having essentially been relegated to the third division due to catastrophic financial problems in 2012.
Les McElroy, 36-year-old secretary of Bluehill Loyal Rangers Supporters’ Club in Banbridge, said: “It’s been a struggle, but we’re back where we need to be.”
A season ticket-holder since 2002, he said he has experienced the “good years and bad years”.
He had continued to travel to matches during their ascent through the lower leagues, but added: “To be honest, it was sort of hard to watch. The quality wasn’t great ... but they did manage to get out.”
Now they will be back in the Premiership, and he said while they cannot “rewrite history”, the club may yet emerge stronger from its ordeal because it has learned to be “shrewder” with money.
“I’d say the Celtic boys will be happy to have Rangers back to increase the quality and standard of football for them – but they won’t be happy when Rangers go back to number one!”
Chris Gilkinson, a 58-year-old retired civil servant from Lurgan, and treasurer of the town’s No 1 Rangers Supporters’ Club, said: “A lot of fans – I wouldn’t say Northern Irish fans – had stayed away... But we had travelled, through all of the leagues.”
He said their relegation meant the hugely popular global club had often been left playing against tiny teams with only 100-or-so supporters.
“It was a great feeling last night [Tuesday],” he said.
Asked if this was now the end of the club’s humiliation, he said: “Hopefully, hopefully. We’re back up – in more ways than one.”
Peter Weir, Rangers fan and DUP Assembly candidate for North Down, said: “Obviously it’s a good result – not just for Rangers but for Scottish football. It kind of restores the natural order.”
He said it represented the “light at the end of the tunnel” for many of those who have long hoped for the club’s return to the upper echelons of the Scottish Premiership.