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In 1872, the club was formed by a group of rowing enthusiasts, Peter Campbell, William McBeath and brothers, Peter and Moses McNeil saw a group of men playing football on Glasgow Green's Flesher's Haugh. Indeed the team's first game was at Flesher's Haugh in May 1872 against Callander, which resulted in a 0–0 draw. Moses McNeil suggested the name Rangers after seeing the name in a book about English Rugby.

Rangers only played two matches in their birth year and their second match, with the team donned in light blue shirts, was a comprehensive 11–0 win over a team named Clyde (not the present Clyde).

Rangers began to grow into a more formal football club and in 1876, for the first time, a player was called up to play international football as Moses McNeil made his Scotland debut against Wales.

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