- This article is standing on the shoulders of a far more comprehensive look at Rangers kits by Jay Mansfield – Jay has also provided valuable research for this
The spring of 1992 saw the announcement that Rangers would begin to wear adidas kits.
Hibernian had been the German firm’s sole representatives in Scotland, while Aberdeen, Dundee United and St Mirren had also donned the three stripes but this was the first time that one of the ‘old firm’ would wear adidas. All four had won silverware in adidas and Rangers would continue that pattern.
The Gers’ kits over the previous decade or so were fairly restrained, with little or no excessive detailing…
…however adidas were in the throes of the Equipment era, so each shoulder featured three large white bars and the v-neck was red, giving the colour more prominence on the shirt than was previously the case.
The new home shirt was worn as Rangers completed a domestic double by beating Airdrieonians (who had criminally small shirt numbers) in the Scottish Cup final. It was complemented by the change shirt, which was the same design but with the colour order changed. Unfortunately, the two kits weren’t interchanged at any stage over the next two seasons.
The goalkeeper kits were just as aggressively branded, in the global adidas style for 1992-93. Both the red and yellow shirts were retailed, with the red designated first choice and the yellow as second, but the latter was worn far more – and would even see use as late as 1996-97, Rangers’ last with adidas.
When neither red nor yellow was suitable, a grey version was used – Arsenal and Liverpool also used the grey, but none of the three clubs sold it. However, prior to the grey one being available, Goram was seen on a few occasions wearing an uncrested and unnumbered adidas Taifun shirt. While you might think that a shirt mixing red and yellow is hardly a good substitute for the main two shirts, the black back helped to give it a different look.
The 1992-93 season saw the inauguration of the Champions League, though it was only a cosmetic change to the competition as the format was the same as the 1991-92 European Cup, with the last eight teams playing off in two four-team groups.
Rangers made it to the group stage, beating Leeds United along the way, and were drawn with Olympique Marseille, Club Brugge and CSKA Moscow. Up until then, shirt sponsors hadn’t been allowed in European finals but were permitted in earlier rounds, however Uefa didn’t allow them for the group stage either while a competition patch was used on the left sleeve.
For Rangers’ first game in their group, at home to Marseille, adidas only sent a set of short-sleeved unsponsored shirts and Rangers trio Trevor Steven, Mark Hateley and Alexei Mikhailichenko favoured long sleeves. The solution was for them to wear regular shirts but with patches – cut from other shirts so as to retain the three-stripe motif in the fabric – placed over the McEwan’s Lager logo and with the Champions League logo applied to the sleeves. The white shirts were worn against Brugge at Ibrox, with Uefa having reinstigated the original rule that home sides should change when a colour-clash arose.
Rangers drew twice with Marseille but they went into their final game, at home to CSKA Moscow, needing to better Marseille’s result against Brugge and a scoreless draw meant they failed to make the final. They did achieve a domestic treble, though. Off the field, the leisurewear was also laden with three stripes (Rangers’ gear was the same as Arsenal’s except that they had royal blue where the Gunners had navy). The red tracksuit was marketed as a ‘travel suit’ but was identical in construction to the blue one.
The summer of 1993 saw the white change kit replaced as adidas went in a bold direction, coming up with a navy and orange striped shirt while one leg of the shorts was similarly decorated. The new kit wasn’t suitable for games away to Dundee, however.
In original launch pictures, the socks were orange with three navy hoops and navy tops, but by the time the season started they had changed to navy – Arsenal underwent an alteration with the hooped socks on their new away kit that summer, as well.
While there were purple and black versions of adidas’s new goalkeeper design, with two sets of stripes coming up from the ribs, but neither were used in a game as the previous kits remained in usage.
Having won the league for the fifth straight year and the league cup, Rangers had a chance to win a second straight treble as they faced Dundee United in the Scottish Cup final. As with 1992, they premiered a new kit, the 1994-96 home strip, but lost 1-0.