How Rangers spent a fortune but still lost the treble to Celtic in 2001
Throughout the 1990s and into the early noughties, Rangers spent huge sums of money in a splurge the likes of which the Scottish game had never seen before.
Under the tenure of chairman David Murray, the club were scattergun in their approach in the transfer market, initially spending big to maintain their stranglehold on Scottish football, before then doing it to remain competitive with Celtic, who became resurgent under the tutelage of Martin O’Neill.
Ahead of the 2000/01 season, Celtic spent plenty with an outlay of £28 million on the likes of Chris Sutton, Neil Lennon, Joos Valgaeren, Alan Thompson, Rab Douglas and Didier Agathe.
Not to be outdone, however, Rangers boss Dick Advocaat spent over £40m on new recruits which to this day remains the most expensive transfer window ever for a Scottish side.
In the end, O’Neill led Celtic to a historic treble of the Scottish Premier League, League Cup and Scottish Cup, meaning Rangers spent heavily only to emerge as second best.
Here is what some of the £40m was spent on…
Tore Andre Flo – £12m from Chelsea
There have been worse forwards to feature for Rangers, but Flo represents so much more than that. The £12m spent on his signing, double the previous Scottish transfer record, left Flo with little way of matching expectations.
Ultimately in his second season, he scored 22 times in all competitions but they were completely overshadowed by Martin O’Neill’s relentless Celtic. Had he signed at another time, his time in Glasgow may be viewed differently.
In the end he represents peak excess from chairman David Murray.
Bert Konterman – £5m from Feyenoord
Bert Konterman would eventually win the league with Rangers in 2003, but in his first year at the club he looked decidedly shaky at the back.
In his first Old Firm game against Celtic, he will be remembered for being cheekily nutmegged by Henrik Larrson as the Swede ran through on goal to score one of the most famous goals in the history of the fixture.
He’ll probably be remembered more fondly by Rangers fans, but every other fan in Scottish football remembers that moment more than any other.
Ronald de Boer – £4.5m from Barcelona
Rangers pulled off a major coup that summer with the acquisition of Dutch international Ronald de Boer from Barcelona. He had previously been a Champions League and Eredivisie winner with Ajax and also won La Liga with the Blaugrana in 1999.
His stardom may have been on the decline when he came to Ibrox but it was still a statement signing and a boost for the Scottish game.
De Boer would be bereft of success in his first season at the club but would eventually help Rangers win a domestic treble in 2003.
Fernando Ricksen – £3.8m from AZ
Fernando Ricksen would go on to become a legendary figure among Rangers fans but things did not get off to a good start for the Dutchman.
During the infamous 6-2 defeat against Celtic in 2000, Ricksen was subbed after just 21 minutes and would later be sent off against the Hoops later on in that season.
His career would recover, though, and he would go on to enjoy success at Ibrox over the next six years.
Kenny Miller – £2m from Hibernian
Kenny Miller signed for Rangers after a good spell with Hibs and started his career pretty well, scoring 10 goals in his opening 14 games.
However, he fell out of favour as the season went on and was eventually sold a year later to Wolves for a £1m profit.
He will probably be more fondly remembered for his second spell with the club.
Jesper Christiansen – £2m from Odense
Jesper Christiansen was unfortunately given the moniker of ‘the next Peter Schmeichel’ because of his nationality but he would not go on to enjoy a 10th of the success of his compatriot.
He was brought in due to a Rangers’ goalkeeping crises and deputised for Stefan Klos including in a 3-0 loss against Kilmarnock in his first game, but once the German returned Christiansen was back on the bench hardly playing.
He would subsequently be sent out on loan on twice to Vejle and Wolfsburg before leaving permanently in 2003.
Peter Lovenkrands – £1.5m from AB
Peter Lovenkrands performed much better than his compatriot Christiansen while at Rangers as he would go on to make 182 appearances for the club.
Though he was relatively ineffectual in his first campaign, much like Rangers as a whole, he would enjoy subsequent success with two Scottish Premier League titles, two Scottish Cups and three League Cups.