Rangers coach, Gio van Bronckhorst, this Tuesday in the last training session at Pizjuán. Pablo Garcia (AP)
In the land of legends, the stories that football distills have an aftertaste between the traditional and the fictional.
John Greig, who was captain, coach and director of Rangers and is now its honorary president, explained one day that the entity had had to prohibit the ashes of deceased fans who requested it from being scattered in their Ibrox Park fiefdom because the lawn was beginning to thin.
There are football clubs in which the social transcends the sporting, and perhaps Rangers, the most successful club in Scotland that will play the Europa League final against Eintracht this Wednesday (9:00 p.m., Movistar), is one of those.
Born in 1872, he died at the age of 150, in June 2012, sick with debt.
But from his ashes, which were perhaps on the lawn at Ibrox, he refounded himself to join the lowest category of Scottish football with the same colours, nomenclature, spirit and fans.
Last year he won the League and now he opts in Seville for his second international wound.
In August they fell against the Swedish Malmoe in one of the Champions League qualifiers, they narrowly beat an Armenian rival in the Europa League
and everything else is already the history of a century-old club.
The Rangers are called zombies by their Celtic antagonists, the walking dead.
Technically, when the club died, all of the club's assets were bought by Sevco Scotland, a partnership that later changed its name to The Rangers Football Club Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of the old Rangers.
"We never cease to be," explained Charles Green, the Englishman who led the entity's rescue maneuvers.
The Scottish Premier League clarified: "This is a new company, but from the same club."
No one at Ibrox doubts it, not even Carlos Cuéllar, a defender who came to Glasgow from Osasuna in 2007.
“History was saved because Rangers is more than football.
You feel like a Madrid or Barcelona player.
They have fans all over the world.
I got there and it looked like Beckham had been booked.
Then in the stands it has nothing to do with Spain, we also live football with intensity, but in each stadium a sector of the fans cheers and sings.
Everyone in Scotland does it."
Rangers' home is in Govan, a Glasgow neighborhood where the bustle of the shipyards is barely a memory.
An illustrious man was born there who defended his shirt for two years.
He had to break stone to do it, already 26 years old, Alex Ferguson, who was neither Sir nor finished winning the affection of the club that he carried in his heart.
After a Cup final, they blamed him for a painful defeat against Celtic and they laminated him.
The suspicion always remained that his marriage to a Catholic woman had also had an influence.
The Protestant team against the Catholic Celtic
The Rangers were born as the club of the Protestant elite of Glasgow, defender of certain conservative values linked to that church and unionism, as opposed to the Catholic and Irish genesis of Celtic.
The competition in Scotland grew around this duopoly, which was established at the beginning of the 20th century.
From 1904 to the start of World War II only the Motherwell broke through in one season.
To date, between Rangers (55) and Celtic (52, with which he has just achieved) they add 107 of the 126 leagues played.
Since 1985 it has not been won by a third party.
Then it was Aberdeen, coached by Alex Ferguson.
When Rangers had to start in the fourth division, Celtic harbored the illusion of beating the
, the nine leagues in a row that he had already achieved twice, once for Rangers, who had a golden age between 1988 and 1997.
In 2016, Rangers completed their climb back into the elite and four years later began the championship with the challenge of avoiding their arch-rival's humiliating record of a decade in submission.
He did it with Steven Gerrard on the bench, an illustrious debutant who last November, with the leading team, accepted an offer from Aston Villa, who paid a transfer of 3.5 million euros.
Then came the Dutchman Gio Van Bronckhorst, a former player of the club, who was accompanied as second by former sportsman Roy Makaay.
"The team's game has been nuanced - Cuéllar clarifies - because with Gerrard the ball was already played from behind, but now a step forward has been taken in midfield to combine more".
The lost final of 2008
But there are issues that are still countercultural in Scotland.
Rangers touches it, but above all it is a vibrant and vertical team, with a plethora of foreign footballers who understand what is lived there.
His scorer with five years of experience in the club, the Colombian Alfredo Morelos, injured almost two months ago, will miss the final.
Kemar Roofe, his alternative, was not available in the semi-final against Leipzig and his presence is doubtful.
Van Bronckhorst has devised a resource in attack with the reconversion of a midfielder, the Nigerian Joe Aribo.
They all push, including goalkeeper Allan McGregor, a Scotsman in his forties who was in the squad that lost the Uefa Cup final against Zenit at Old Trafford in 2008.
Cuéllar played that match.
“Seen with the perspective of time, we can blame ourselves for not having been us.
Zenit had just beaten Bayern and we went out with more precautions than usual.
We played with too much respect,” he recalls.
In Seville, dressed in their beautiful vintage
-inspired blue jacket
, a daring Rangers awaits to relieve their people of so much pending revenge, that of a hobby that saw the club dead and resurrected and wants to recall the glory of the only European title that contemplates his salvaged story.
On May 24, it will be 50 years since they lifted the Cup Winners' Cup by beating Dynamo Moscow at the Camp Nou.
There is no better way to commemorate that anniversary, which is also the tenth of a club that was left for dead and today feels more alive than ever.
You can follow EL PAÍS Deportes on
, or sign up here to receive
our weekly newsletter
Exclusive content for subscribers
read without limits
I'm already a subscriber