It is more than a decade since Ian Ferguson last pulled a Rangers jersey over his head - but the die was cast long before that.
One of the few who made it from the terraces and on to the pitch, Ferguson's association with the club formally ended in the year 2000 when he moved to Dunfermline after 12 years of service with the Ibrox side.
His affection for the club, however, has never left him.
And now, the distance of 9,000 miles between Ibrox and his Australian home has not been enough to act as a buffer against the harsh reality of Rangers' current crisis.
Desperate for daily bulletins on the club's plight, Ferguson was rarely off the phone to his family and friends back home as he sought to keep abreast of the situation.
And the news that the club has plunged into no-man's land following their failure to gain a place in the SPL has left him distraught.
"It doesn't make it any easier when you are so far away," he said. "I have never hidden just how much feeling I have for Rangers. I was a born-and-bred Rangers fan and was lucky enough to get the chance to play for the club.
"The fact that I have a new life in Australia hasn't made what is going on any easier to stomach.
"The story has become more and more incredible as it has gone on – but I could never have imagined that it would have come to this.
"It is unimaginable. Every time I think about it, it shocks me. Rangers are an institution. It is awful.
"I've not been off the phone and off the internet. Things have changed so quickly and it has been awful to feel so powerless to do anything."
Ferguson was a core part of the Ibrox nine-in-a-row side and remains a close friend of Ally McCoist.
He has spoken often to his former team-mate, but is always reluctant to get down to brass tacks on the crisis.
Mindful of how stressful life has been for the Rangers boss throughout the past five torrid months, Ferguson has tried to be as supportive as possible rather than increasing the pressure on his old friend and colleague.
"I have spoken to Ally throughout this ordeal a fair few times, but you need to be careful – he has been under an intolerable amount of stress," said Ferguson. "So I've always tried not to press him for too much information on what has been going on."
Whatever happens next for McCoist in his football career, it is doubtful if he will face a challenge of similar gravity in his next coaching role.
And Ferguson, himself now manager of Perth Glory, has been sympathetic to the job his buddy is trying to get to grips with.
"Being a manager itself is hard because there is so much to think of and to do," he said.
"But Ally will never go through anything like this again. He has shown so much dignity in what has been a desperate situation.
"I am sure there have been times when he has been dying to come out and publicly say something that is on his mind and there would have been times last season when he would have liked to come out and tell it like it is, but he has kept things to himself and that has been to protect the players and the club.
"Ally is a fighter, a survivor and a winner. He knows the score at Rangers and I feel for him because no other Rangers manager has every known anything like this. Playing in the Third Division? It is unthinkable."
And while players such as Steven Naismith, Steven Whittaker, Allan McGregor and Steven Davis have been criticised in some quarters for refusing to transfer over into the newco, Ferguson believes the players were in a no-win situation.
"You have to remember that they all have families, they all have ambitions and if the club is going to drop into the Third Division it would be difficult for them to play at a standard required if they wanted to stay in the national team," he said.
"They would have been in a very difficult situation and I do sympathise with them. It wasn't an easy place to be."
However, Ferguson is not quite so understanding of the SPL clubs who refused to vote the Rangers newco into the top flight.
"I can understand the anger a lot of supporters will have," said the former midfielder. "I know there are rules and regulations to be adhered to, but the bottom line is that this has become about the good of Scottish football.
"It is the fans who have dictated this decision, but where will it lead to now? Our game has become something of a laughing stock and it will not be easy to rebuild it."