None of us truly know where this life is going to take us, and what highs and lows we will experience along the way.

That is especially true for anyone associated with Rangers Football Club if you had told them after the 2008 UEFA Cup final they would next reach another European showpiece 14 years later.

As the Gers players trudged off the field at the Etihad Stadium having been thoroughly outplayed by Zenit, the disappointment was tempered with a belief that at least this was a team that had made a final and may have been on the way to more.

It took nearly a decade and a half, but on Wednesday they find themselves heading to Spain to line up opposite Eintracht Frankfurt to contest the Europa League final.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at how Rangers got from Manchester to Seville, with one of the bumpiest rides football has ever seen.

A night to forget in Manchester

Under the guidance of legendary manager Walter Smith in 2007-08, Rangers were looking to overthrow rivals Celtic in the league, having been bested by the Hoops the previous two seasons.

It was no good as Celtic made it a third Scottish title in a row, beating Rangers by three points, but there was a silver lining for the blue half of Glasgow.

Having finished third in their Champions League group behind Barcelona and Lyon, Rangers found themselves in the UEFA Cup.

They overcame Panathinaikos on away goals first up, before beating Werder Bremen 2-0 at Ibrox in first leg of the last 16, one of only two wins they actually managed in their entire run.

After getting past Sporting Lisbon in the quarter-finals, a penalty shoot-out success after 210 goalless minutes against Fiorentina sent Smith's side to the final.

However, it was a step too far for Rangers as they succumbed to defeat in Manchester, losing 2-0 to a Zenit team containing Andrei Arshavin and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, and managed by former Gers boss Dick Advocaat.

It was a blow but Rangers went on to win the next three Scottish titles until things began to unravel in the 2011-12 season, with poor form and a points deduction for financial issues seeing Celtic take the crown back.

That was far from the worst thing that happened to the club that year, though.

The fall and rise of Rangers

The financial issues were worse than first feared. Owing significant money to HM Revenue and Customs, The Rangers Football Club plc entered liquidation on 31 October 2012.

The club was forced to reform under the new ownership of Charles Green and a vote from other member clubs of the Scottish Football League meant Rangers were forced to begin again at the bottom, in the third division.

Although they had to sell most of their players to raise money and because few fancied playing in Scotland's fourth tier, Rangers still boasted by far the strongest squad in the third division, while manager Ally McCoist had also stayed on to try and take them back to the top.

They unsurprisingly won the league by 24 points in their first season, and had even fewer problems in the second division, now called League One, going unbeaten and drawing only three of their 36 games, securing 102 points and promotion at the first time of asking again.

The Championship was a different prospect altogether, though, as Rangers found themselves in with both Hibernian and Hearts. The two Edinburgh clubs ultimately finished above them, though Rangers beat both Queen of the South and Hibs in the playoffs, before losing to Motherwell in the final, meaning they would have to try again.

Stuart McCall was in charge by that point, and the former Scotland midfielder was able to get the job done in 2015-16, finishing 11 points ahead of second-placed Falkirk.

For the first time in four years, Rangers were back at the top table in Scotland, but this was always going to be the biggest leap. Their first Old Firm derby back in the top flight ended in a 5-1 drubbing by Celtic.

During the winter break, Rangers had played RB Leipzig in a friendly, losing 4-0 to the German side, which was perhaps a prophetic sign of how far they would need to rise to get back to where they felt they belonged.

Rangers finished third in their first two seasons back in the Premiership and decided to bring in a big name to try and force their way into the title picture. Steven Gerrard.

The former Liverpool star was new to management but was able to secure second place in 2018-19, though also back in Europe, Rangers were unable to get out of the Europa League group stage.

They made it to the round of 16 the following season before going out to Bayer Leverkusen, and despite putting up more of a fight in the league, a wobble in the second half of the campaign saw Celtic claim their ninth consecutive title.

Rangers fans everywhere wanted Gerrard to do everything he could to stop their great rivals from making it 10 in a row, and despite none of them being able to witness it thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, Gerrard and his players did just that.

They had done it emphatically as well, going undefeated and collecting 102 points to win the Premiership, averaging 2.42 goals for per game, and just 0.34 goals against across their 38 league matches.

Full circle

It felt like Rangers were ready to take the next step, and many assumed that was by getting back into the group stage of the Champions League in 2021-22.

However, those plans were scuppered as they were beaten home and away by Malmo in qualifying, so back to the Europa League it was.

After losing their first two group games to Lyon and Sparta Prague without scoring, few will have had any hopes about making it to the knockout round playoffs, let alone where they ended up.

Home wins against Brondby and Sparta as well as away draws with Brondby and Lyon saw them advance a point ahead of the Czech side, though they were given a daunting tie against Borussia Dortmund.

On top of that, Gerrard had left for Aston Villa in November, with former player Giovanni van Bronckhorst taking over.

A stunning effort in Signal Iduna Park saw them win 4-2, before completing the job with a 2-2 draw back at Ibrox.

Hard-fought aggregate victories against Red Star Belgrade and Braga sent them to the semi-finals, and a date with more Bundesliga opposition, the very same they had lost convincingly to in that 2017 friendly.

Leipzig will have been wondering how they only won 1-0 at Red Bull Arena in the first leg, but Ibrox was a different matter, with a raucous crowd again cheering Rangers to a famous 3-1 win, and their first European final since 2008.

The second leg came nine years and one day after beating Berwick Rangers 1-0 at Ibrox in their final game in the third division.

It has been quite a ride since Manchester in 2008. Whatever happens in Seville, it is not always about the destination. It's about the journey.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst hopes to buck history when Rangers face Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League final, as he aims to become just the second manager to win a European trophy at the club.

The Dutchman will lead the Scottish Premier League giants in Seville next Wednesday against their Bundesliga rivals as the famous Glasgow club bid for only a second continental trophy.

Rangers were beaten by Zenit in the UEFA Cup final in Manchester 14 years ago

Their only previous taste of European glory came in the 1972 European Cup Winners' Cup final, which they won under Willie Waddell with a defeat of Dynamo Moscow in Barcelona.

Half a century on, Van Bronckhorst could repeat the feat with a triumph in Spain, and the Rangers boss is desperate to lift the trophy.

"It means a lot," he told a press conference. "There aren't many managers in the history of this club who played a European final.

"There's only one who actually won it. For the club, it would be fantastic to win a second prize in Europe."

Referring to the lack of European success for Scottish clubs, the Dutchman added: "It's not often you play finals, it's not often you play finals in Europe as a Scottish team.

"It's very rare that it happens. We're really honoured and proud that we are in the final in Seville, and can enjoy this occasion with many fans all around the world.

"We're representing this beautiful club, we're representing Scotland, so we have to make sure we give a good impression, and that's what we want to do."

Touching on his side's impressive exploits in beating RB Leipzig to reach the final, Van Bronckhorst says the memory will live him with a long time, while stressing the job is not yet done.

"The Leipzig game was one of the best nights I've experienced as a player and a manager," he added. "But it is very important that we keep going.

"The last two games we've played, against Dundee United and Ross County, we didn't relax because we need the same intensity, the same desire to play against Frankfurt.

"I don't want my players to slip up. Saturday [when Rangers play Hearts] is a bit different, because we're going to change some players, but I think we're ready for the final. That's all that matters now."

Celtic remain on course to win the Scottish Premiership despite Fashion Sakala earning Rangers a 1-1 draw in Sunday's Old Firm derby at Celtic Park.

Ange Postecoglou's side went into the fourth league meeting of the season between the two Glasgow giants six points ahead of their arch rivals.

That advantage looked like being extended to nine when Jota put Celtic ahead in the 21st minute.

However, Celtic failed to make the most of the superiority they largely enjoyed thereafter, and Sakala claimed a share of the spoils with his 67th-minute leveller.

Ryan Kent led a bright start for Rangers that soon dissipated as Daizen Maeda's low left-wing cross was deftly turned home by Jota.

Celtic continued in the ascendancy and Maeda should have made it 2-0 three minutes before half-time with a close-range header, Jota almost returning the favour with a cross to the far post after Rangers lost possession in their own half.

Maeda blazed over another excellent chance 10 minutes after the restart and his profligacy was punished in fine fashion.

Neat build-up play from Rangers saw Kent tee up Sakala, whose low drive had too much pace for Joe Hart and sneaked inside the near post.

Rangers came agonisingly close to completing the turnaround, Hart producing a stunning save to deny Scott Arfield from close range before Sakala hit the post, Celtic clinging on to maintain a likely decisive edge in the title race.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou confirmed that a member of his coaching staff was hit by a missile during the Old Firm derby.

The Hoops came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory at Ibrox and extended their lead over their rivals Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premiership to six points with just six games remaining.

Aaron Ramsey had given Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side the lead early on, only for Tomas Rogic and Cameron Carter-Vickers to strike back for Celtic before the break.

However, the match was marred by glass bottles being thrown onto the pitch, with the game being delayed early in the second half when parts of a broken bottle were found in the Celtic penalty area.

In a separate incident, a member of Celtic's staff was also struck by an object thrown from the crowd. 

"Yeah, he was [hit by a missile], on the way in. I think he is okay. He had a couple of stitches," Postecoglou told reporters when asked if the staff member had indeed been struck by a missile.

"It is disappointing because this is a game that gets beamed around the world and it stands on its own.

"You had two teams going at it in first and second spot and you don't need a couple of idiots spoiling it."

Cameron Carter-Vickers celebrated a "massive" victory for Celtic as his goal ultimately proved the winner in Sunday's derby clash with Rangers.

Celtic took the Old Firm bragging rights back across Glasgow as they secured a 2-1 win at Ibrox.

Rangers' start could hardly have been better, with Aaron Ramsey scoring inside the opening three minutes, yet Tomas Rogic swiftly hit back for the visitors.

That was the first time since December 2002 that both teams had scored inside the opening 10 minutes of an Old Firm derby, and the first half ended in similarly frantic fashion when Carter-Vickers lashed in after a goalmouth scramble.

Celtic ultimately held on without too much trouble, despite glass bottles being thrown onto the pitch at half-time, as Ange Postecoglou's team moved six points clear of their city rivals at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

"A massive win for us, not many games left so every three points are massively important," defender Carter-Vickers told Sky Sports.

"All season we've shown that character. Sometimes it is difficult coming to a stadium like this, and it takes a bit of time to adjust.

"It was difficult to concede in the first five minutes, but after that we played well.

"My goal was probably a bit lucky. It was difficult, they were pushing men forward, and we had to defend as a unit. I thought we stood up to it well today."

Postecoglou echoed Carter-Vickers' sentiment, telling BBC Scotland: "It was an enormous effort. It was a proper derby.

"We didn't get off to the greatest of starts and the crowd was up and for us and this group of players to turn it around in that fashion, and the resilience this group have shown. 

"I'm super proud of the players. Everyone knows this isn't an easy place to come to, they're a good side and they're undefeated here this year and knowing the consequences and the significance of three points to the league today it was always going to be a battle for us.

"There were going to be times we had to roll our sleeves up. But like I said after not getting off to the greatest of starts, to go and win the game is a testament to the character of the players."

That was only a second domestic defeat Rangers have suffered under Giovanni van Bronckhorst, but both of them have been in derby games.

Celtic took a big stride towards regaining the Scottish Premiership title as Cameron Carter-Vickers' strike secured a 2-1 Old Firm derby win over Rangers at Ibrox.

Aaron Ramsey gave the Gers a dream start by opening the scoring just three minutes in, but Tomas Rogic equalised only four minutes later to silence the vast majority of a raucous capacity crowd on Sunday.

After weathering an early storm, Celtic were the better side and Carter-Vickers put them in front late in the first half.

Rangers were unable to respond in a second half that was delayed due to broken glass being thrown onto the pitch as Celtic moved six points clear of their fierce Glasgow rivals, with Ange Postecoglou's side also having a superior goal difference with six games to play.

Defending champions Rangers were rewarded for making a blistering start when Calvin Bassey sent Ryan Kent racing clear down the left and the winger's cross was swept in by the onrushing Ramsey.

Celtic briefly looked like they did not know what had hit them, but they were quickly level, Rogic turning in from close range after Allan McGregor palmed Reo Hatate's shot into his path following a brilliant run from Callum McGregor.

The Hoops thought Daizen Maeda had been upended by McGregor in the box late in the first half, but Carter-Vickers deservedly drilled them into the lead with his left foot as the Gers failed to deal with a free-kick from the left.

Joe Hart returned after the break to discover broken bottles in his penalty area, but Celtic looked untroubled once the game restarted after a delay of only a few minutes for a clean-up operation.

Hart did produce a fine save from Fashion Sakala and a superb reflex stop from McGregor prevented Liel Abada from extending Celtic's lead, but goals from Rogic and Carter-Vickers were enough to secure three precious points for the visitors.

Rangers will be without leading scorer Alfredo Morelos when they face Celtic in a huge Old Firm derby on Sunday.

The striker sustained a thigh injury while away on international duty with Colombia and will not be fit for a potentially decisive Scottish Premiership clash at Ibrox.

Morelos played no part in Colombia's victories over Bolivia and Venezuela, which proved to be in vain as they failed to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday confirmed the 25-year-old will miss the showdown with Glasgow rivals Celtic, who are three points ahead of Rangers heading into the contest.

"Unfortunately for all of us he won't be with us on Sunday, we won't have him back in the next couple of weeks," said the former Netherlands midfielder.

"Morelos will be assessed and hopefully we can give more news after the weekend."

Morelos has scored 11 league goals for the defending champions this season.

Rangers have pulled out of a proposed friendly with Celtic that was due to take place in Australia in November.

It had been announced that the champions of Scotland would play in a four-team tournament, titled the "Sydney Super Cup", against their Old Firm rivals as well as A-League duo Sydney FC and Sydney Wanderers.

The game between Rangers and Celtic would have been the first Old Firm derby to take place overseas.

However, Rangers have now confirmed they will not be taking part in the tournament.

A statement released by the club on Thursday read: "Rangers can confirm the club will not be participating in the Sydney Super Cup in November 2022.

"After it became clear the tournament organisers were unwilling to fulfil their commitments to Rangers, we have, with immediate effect, terminated the club's agreement with the organisers."

Rangers fans had voiced their displeasure at the proposal, interrupting the recent 2-1 win at Dundee on several occasions by throwing tennis balls and toilet paper onto the pitch.

UFC star Conor McGregor has reiterated his desire to buy a football club, with Manchester United, Celtic and Chelsea all on his radar.

The 33-year-old said on social media this week that he would like to "explore" the prospect of purchasing Chelsea after Roman Abramovich confirmed his intention to sell up.

He has also previously signalled his interest in purchasing United from the Glazer family and the stake of fellow Irishman Dermot Desmond in Celtic.

McGregor's latest comments were met with scepticism given Abramovich's reported £3billion valuation of Chelsea, but he insisted he is serious about his interest.

"I do not speak in jest," he posted on his personal Twitter account on Sunday in tweets that were seemingly deleted soon after. "I am exploring this, as I said.

"Celtic from Dermot Desmond, Manchester United from the Glaziers [sic], and now the recently up for sale Chelsea football club. All being explored. 

"A football franchise purchase is in my future make no mistake about it."

McGregor has accumulated significant wealth through a number of high-profile bouts, including a crossover into boxing when taking on Floyd Mayweather in 2017.

He moved into the world of business when launching a whiskey brand in 2018 and the Irishman is determined to add a sports team to his profile.

"Everyday I ball," he added. "How wouldn't I lead a team of young, dedicated athletes to glory. I'm perfect for the job. Pray it's your team."

McGregor has been joined by several others in showing an interest in purchasing Chelsea, with Turkish businessman Muhsin Bayrak reportedly already in talks with Abramovich.

Long-serving owner Abramovich announced on Wednesday he had taken the "incredibly difficult" decision to put the club up for sale.

In a statement, he said the sale "will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process", adding he will not be asking for loans to be repaid by the club.

That decision came amid the threat of sanctions against further Russian businesses and high-profile individuals following the country's invasion of Ukraine last week.

Rangers gave the Old Firm Derby away to Celtic, but Giovanni van Bronckhorst does not think it will be decisive in the Scottish Premiership title race. 

Celtic took the lead through Reo Hatate inside five minutes at an electric Parkhead on Wednesday and completely controlled the clash between the top two during the opening period. 

Hatate rifled in a brilliant second and two minutes later crossed for Liel Abada to make it 3-0 on the stroke of half-time. 

Rangers improved after the restart but were unable to stop their 21-game unbeaten run coming to an end, with Celtic replacing them at the Premiership summit and going a point clear. 

"It seemed like it was the first Old Firm game we'd played. We know what the Old Firm will bring, what we have to do … but it seemed like we weren't ready for it," Van Bronckhorst told Sky Sports. 

"You see the way we gave the goals away. It's the sharpness, I cannot say otherwise. It's not going with your man, not being ready for the battles. I think it was unbelievable the first half I saw. 

"I think our Old Firm game started in the second half. We were much better, much more aggressive and we played the second half really well. But in the first half we gave the game away. 

"It wasn't something I expected. When I see the trainings we had, the focus we had before the game, but when the whistle blew, we were just waiting for the goal to be scored. We were too naive and we deserved to be down 3-0 with the way we played. 

"We had an honest conversation in the locker room after the game.  

"We're not the first Rangers team to lose. I lost very big here as a player, but we eventually became champions that year. Of course, we wanted to win this game, but these games don't decide the championship. We still have many games to play and we have to be ready." 

The victory was Ange Postecoglou's first since taking charge of Celtic and ended a six-game winless run against Rangers in the league. 

The Australian was thoroughly impressed with how his team outplayed Rangers and believes there is still plenty more to come from the Bhoys. 

"Our first 45 minutes were outstanding; three great goals," Postecoglou told the BBC. 

"Our football was pretty special and their keeper pulled off some great saves. In the second half, we had to defend a bit more but we've been a team that can do that. It shows another layer. We knew the consequences, what it meant to our supporters, and we stood up. 

"Considering the context of the game and the opposition, I thought our football was outstanding. It's the kind of football team we want to be. It doesn't mean you disrespect or dismiss the opposition. We are still developing, but we want to take it to the opposition, and if we do that, we can take it to any opposition. 

"We've still got key players missing, very influential players. Some are just in the door. Reo Hatate and Matt O'Riley have played fewer than five games. Our target was not top spot, our target is to win things, and if we're going to win things, we have to keep improving." 

Celtic overthrew Rangers at the Scottish Premiership summit after Reo Hatate inspired a resounding 3-0 victory in the Old Firm derby at Parkhead on Wednesday. 

Hatate continued his blistering start to life at Celtic with a first-half double that played a crucial role in securing a first league win against Rangers since September 2019. 

The Japanese midfielder set up Liel Abada with a tantalising cross two minutes after netting his second of the game, practically ending Giovanni van Bronckhorst's hopes of salvaging a result in his first Old Firm at the Rangers helm. 

Rangers' 21-game unbeaten run in the league consequently came to an ignominious end, with Ange Postecoglou's first win over Celtic's arch-rivals sending his team one point clear at the top. 

Celtic took a fifth-minute lead when Hatate's effort from the edge of the box deflected off Glen Kamara and found the bottom-right corner. 

Allan McGregor produced a brilliant double-save to keep Jota and Giorgos Giakoumakis at bay, but he was helpless when Hatate curled in a second in the 42nd minute. 

Hatate then turned provider before half-time, crossing for Abada to steer home after Rangers were caught napping by a quick throw-in. 

Rangers tightened up after the restart but found it difficult to create chances to test Joe Hart, although Ryan Jack rattled the crossbar with a 30-yard piledriver in the 79th minute.

Celtic were able to comfortably see out the victory, and the new league leaders are now unbeaten in 18 straight top-flight matches.

What does it mean? A shift in Rangers' outlook 

Rangers just could not keep track of Celtic's interchanging attack in a blistering first-half display, and it ultimately cost them their place at the top of the league. 

The defeat sees Rangers go from being on a 21-game undefeated streak to having won just one of their past four matches in the top flight. 

A Reo-lly good start 

Hatate was named man of the match on his debut against Hibernian last month and scored a screamer at Hearts the following week. The 24-year-old produced another stand-out display, with two goals and an assist making it a maiden Old Firm outing to remember. 

Barisic ball watches 

Had Rangers gone into half-time at 2-0 down, they may have had hope of mounting a second-half comeback. However, Borna Barisic was completely idle as Abada nipped in front of him to get Celtic's third before the break. He did not return for the second half.

What's next? 

Celtic head to Motherwell on Sunday, when Rangers face another difficult challenge at home to Hearts. 

Aaron Ramsey has joined Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers from Juventus on an initial loan deal.

The Wales international has struggled for appearances this season and was told by Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri to find a new club this month.

Ramsey had been linked with a number of Premier League sides, including Wolves, Burnley and Crystal Palace, but he sealed a deadline-day switch to Rangers on Monday.

He will spend the rest of the 2021-22 campaign at Ibrox, with an agreement also reportedly in place for Rangers to sign the midfielder permanently at the end of the season.

"I am really pleased to be joining a club like Rangers, where there is so much to look forward to between now and May," Ramsey told Rangers' official website.

"I had a number of offers on the table, but none matched the magnitude of this club, with European football and the chance to play in front of 50,000 fans every other week.

"I have had some fantastic conversations with the manager and Ross Wilson, and I'm really looking forward to working with both of them, and to meeting the supporters."

 

Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst added: "I'm absolutely delighted that we have been able to add a player of Aaron's quality, experience and leadership to our squad.

"As soon as it was mooted as a possibility, I was really keen for us to try everything to get the deal done, and huge credit must go to Ross and to the board for the work they have put in on this.

"I look forward to welcoming Aaron to the training centre tomorrow."

Ramsey will be looking to kick-start his career back in Britain with Rangers following a largely frustrating time of things across his two and a half years with Juventus.

The 31-year-old, who previously spent 11 seasons with Arsenal, has struggled for regular appearances at the Allianz Stadium due to persistent injury problems.

He has started just 34 games in all competitions since making his debut in September 2019, with 16 other players featuring more regularly for Juve over that period.

While his playing time has been limited, Ramsey's 2.07 chances created per 90 minutes during his time in Turin is the best return of any midfielder currently in the squad.

Since Allegri's arrival at the start of the season, Ramsey has been used only five times – and not at all since early November – totalling 111 minutes of action on the field.

The Cardiff City academy product is eligible to make his Rangers debut in Wednesday's Old Firm showdown with Celtic.

The Gers announced the signing of Mateusz Zukowski from Lechia Gdansk earlier on Monday.

Amad Diallo has joined Rangers on loan from Manchester United until the end of the season.

The 19-year-old signed for United in January last year in a deal reportedly worth around £37million from Italian side Atalanta but has struggled for game time under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.

The loan move to the Scottish champions does not have a purchase option included, as the Old Trafford club still have big plans for the tricky winger, and Rangnick believes the move will be good for his development.

Amad has a goal and an assist from his nine appearances in all competitions for United, though only three of those have been starts. His goal was a clever header in the 1-1 draw with Milan in the first leg of last season's Europa League round of 16.

The Ivory Coast international also made five substitute appearances while at Atalanta, scoring once.

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst recently lost playmaker Ianis Hagi to a season-ending injury, meaning Amad has the opportunity to pick up some of the creative slack during his temporary stay in Scotland, and he goes straight into the squad for Saturday's game at Ross County.

After the deal was confirmed, Amad expressed his happiness at the opportunity, telling the club's website: "I am delighted to join Rangers until the end of the season.

"It is fantastic for me at this stage of my career to have the opportunity to come to such a big club that is challenging on a number of fronts and will give me some excellent opportunities to test myself in many environments."

Rangers are top of the Scottish Premiership, four points ahead of rivals Celtic, after a 1-0 win against Livingston at Ibrox on Wednesday.

Everton have completed the signing of Nathan Patterson from Rangers for an undisclosed fee.

The Scotland right-back has penned a deal until June 2027, with reports suggesting that the initial fee is in the region of £10million.

Patterson becomes the Toffees' second acquisition of the January transfer window following the arrival of Ukraine left-back Vitalii Mykolenko on New Year's Day.

Upon completion of the move on Tuesday, the 20-year-old shared his delight at signing for the Premier League side.

"I'm over the moon to sign for Everton and looking forward to getting started," he told the Toffees' website.

"It was an easy choice to sign. This is a massive club with huge history and the fanbase is tremendous.

"Obviously we aren't in the place where we want to be right now, but we can definitely get there with the talent in the changing room and staff here, and I have full belief we can do that.

"It is really exciting to come to a club that has huge talent in the team. I am going to work my socks off and hopefully I can do well with them in training and in games.

"It was also great for me knowing the manager really wanted me here and that made my decision. When a club really wants you, it makes your mind up early on.

"Long-term, I want to nail down a starting position and win some trophies to make the fans proud."

Patterson also revealed that he has already spoken to club captain Seamus Coleman, who he will be competing with for a spot at right-back.

"I’ve had a good conversation with Seamus," he added. "I am really looking forward to learning from him and working together.

"That is why I am here: to learn and get better as a player and, hopefully, win things and do well for the club. If I am working alongside Seamus, that is definitely going to happen."

Patterson, who will wear the number three shirt at Goodison Park, has made six starts and five substitute appearances for Rangers in all competitions this season, registering one assist.

Celtic's clash with Rangers on January 2 has been postponed by a month after Scottish Premiership clubs voted in favour of bringing forward the mid-season break.

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Tuesday that all outdoor events in the country would be limited to 500 spectators for at least three weeks from December 26 amid a rise in coronavirus cases.

That would have meant the first Old Firm derby of 2022 practically being held behind closed doors, but there is hope that restrictions will be eased – or entirely lifted – by the time the Glasgow rivals meet in the rescheduled fixture on February 2.

Scottish Premierships teams will now start their three-week break after the Boxing Day round of fixtures, rather than on January 3, and the league will resume on January 17.

Games that were due to be played on December 29 and January 2-3, which also includes the Edinburgh and Dundee derbies, have been moved to January 17-18 and February 1-2 respectively.

Neil Doncaster, SPFL chief executive, said in a statement released on Wednesday: "We have had intense and positive discussions with all cinch SPFL clubs over the past 24 hours, since the announcement by the Scottish government of a three-week period of restrictions on fans attending matches. 

"We have advised our clubs that any postponements increase the risk of further disruption to an already highly congested fixture calendar.

"There are mixed views amongst cinch Premiership clubs about what to do for the best. However, a majority favour the postponement of fixtures to give a chance for games scheduled to be played over the festive period to be played in front of fans, once the three-week period of restrictions comes to an end. 

"The SPFL Board has agreed to postpone the 29 December and New Year Premiership fixture cards.

"Championship, League 1 and League 2 clubs voted to continue playing through the government restrictions and we look forward to their festive fixtures over the next fortnight.

"We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Sky Sports and Police Scotland for their flexibility in accommodating these changes and to all cinch SPFL clubs for their clear, positive and constructive feedback as we work together to get through the challenges posed by COVID-19."

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