U.S. national team captain Carlos Bocanegra has been to many places in his European career, but he probably never figured he'd be starting his 10th season in Europe in Peterhead, a fishing town of 17,000 at the easternmost point in mainland Scotland.
Peterhead's Balmoor Stadium is so small its two stands seat only 1,000 fans and journalists who traveled to cover the game for papers in New York and France were unable to get press passes. Fans stood behind sign boards to watch the once-mighty Rangers.
That was the Glasgow club's first stop on the road back to the top of Scottish soccer, and it didn't exactly go well. The 'Gers, demoted three tiers to the bottom of Scottish pro soccer after filing bankruptcy, had to settle for a 2-2 tie with Peterhead thanks to Andrew Little's goal 20 seconds from time.
Rangers manager Ally McCoistsaid his team, which started eight internationals, learned an important lesson about life on the semipro circuit. "I told the players afterwards that if any of them thought for a minute that they could turn up for any of these games and pick up three points without earning them, that might just be a rude awakening," he said.