Insult was added to injury for Rangers when they succumbed to an 84th- minute winner last night from Steaua Bucharest eight minutes after having their defender, Alan McLaren, sent off along with the Romanian, Damian Militaru, in their opening Champions' League match.
Paul Gascoigne was also booked in a tough assignment for the Scots which so very nearly ended successfully.
It was a bold effort by Walter Smith's team, in which Gascoigne, Brian Laudrup and Gordan Petric were his chosen foreigners and the former Dundee United defender, Alex Cleland, made his first appearance of the season in place of the suspended left-back, David Robertson.
Rangers had to survive a rocky opening spell and it was 15 minutes before they were able to threaten themselves, Richard Gough heading a free-kick by Ian Durrant straight at the goalkeeper.
Gascoigne was booked after 24 minutes for an ill-advised lunge at Tiberiu Csik. Gascoigne threatened a couple of times, once weaving into the box shortly only for his shot to be blocked by Daniel Prodan, the eventual match-winner. Then he had a free-kick saved by Bogdan Stelea.
Andy Goram rescued Rangers after 52 minutes by pulling off a superb reaction save from Constantin Galca's swerving free-kick, but the goalkeeper could do nothing to stop an emphatic volley by Prodan which met a corner by Galca.
Steaua Bucharest: Stelea; Csik, Parvu, Dobos, Galca, Prodan, Raducan, Militaru, Vladoiu, Ilie (Rosu, 65), Bucur.
Rangers: Goram; Wright, Cleland, Gough, McLaren, Petric, Miller (Durie, 75), Gascoigne, McCoist, Durrant (Murray, 81), Laudrup.
Referee: A Sars (France).Reuse content