After 18 months away from Rangers, the Bosnian returned to Murray Park to renew acquaintances and roll back the years.
The blue crested gates are still there and so, too, are the shirts that adorn the walls and commemorate past triumphs.
The club Papac returned to is the same but the situation it finds itself in is somewhat different.
His decision to call time on a Light Blues career that saw him win eight major titles, reach a European final and cement a place in the hearts of the Ibrox faithful came as the true scale of Rangers’
financial problems hit home.
Papac endured several weeks of strife as the club were sent into a tailspin but, 18 months after he made the agonising decision to leave Ibrox, quandaries have still to be solved – and even this morning there was further turmoil following the departures of chief executive Craig Mather and non-executive director Bryan Smart.
“We thought that there would be a couple of months of trouble and then Rangers would be back to normal but it is now a couple of years and there are still problems,” said Papac, who returned to Glasgow to speak at the Rangers Supporters’ Erskine Appeal dinner last Saturday.
“The fans, everyone at the club, want everything to be clear again. It is difficult to know what is going on at Rangers, every day there is some new news about the club.
“Everybody always asks me about what is happening at the club. They say it is a shame Rangers are not in the top flight. It is difficult on the outside to know what is happening on the inside. We can see in the papers a couple of stories but it is hard to know how things are. I hope the problems end soon.”
Papac was, of course, not the only big name to leave Rangers last summer as boss Ally McCoist saw a string of multi-million pound, title- winning stars head for the Ibrox exit door.
While the 33-year-old
departed with the goodwill of fans following several seasons of sterling service to the Light Blue cause, many of his team-mates were condemned for quitting the club in the wake of Charles Green’s arrival.
The likes of Allan McGregor, Steven Whittaker, captain Steven Davis and Steven Naismith all left the Gers as McCoist was forced to completely rebuild his squad for the Third Division campaign.
Many fans have never forgiven those who didn’t stay for the fight, but
Papac can understand why his team-mates made the decision to leave in the face of even more uncertainty and adversity.
“It was the first time we had been in that situation. It was very strange,” he said.
“The administrators came in and said you must cut your contract or you may be sacked. It was a very strange situation. We came every day to Murray Park and we didn’t know what would happen. It was hard to even train.
“It was not a good experience for the players. It was very tough for everyone at the club and all the staff. I can understand why they decided to leave.
“Maybe the supporters will argue about it, but I can understand why the players left the club. Everybody needs to progress as a player and carry on their career. It was very difficult at that time.
“I know that all the players liked playing for Rangers and wanted to play for the club, I am sure of that. We tried to help Rangers. We tried to do our best but nothing better was happening. It was a difficult decision for the players to take and to leave.”
It was not just the Light Blue legions who vented their fury at the players who, unlike boss McCoist, walked away during the darkest days in Rangers’ illustrious history.
Incoming chief executive Green was an outspoken critic of those who left as he battled to bring in transfer fees for several million pounds’ worth of talent.
Ultimately, the Yorkshireman would not hang around long at Ibrox either, and Papac admits there were serious tensions between the boardroom and dressing room.
“I never saw him (Green) before I left,” he said. “I can’t say anything about him. I only know him from the newspapers. There wasn’t a good relationship between the players and the board, especially during the administration.
“I said once that the administrators would have done the same things at a football club or a chicken company and made the same decisions.
“It is not possible. Football is different, you have a heart and something special here. It was very strange.”
Rangers may have emerged from their financial meltdown but the Light Blues still don’t have a clean bill of health as boardroom bickering continues to overshadow events on the field.
McCoist and his players have held up their side of the bargain by claiming the Third Division title and storming into a commanding position in the opening weeks of the new League One campaign.
The Gers have been roared on by record-breaking crowds as the Light Blue legions have stayed loyal to their club and Papac is confident his former side will rise to the top of our game once again.
He said: “It is unbelievable what has happened here. For me, the Rangers fans are the club. The supporters and the people who work here, this is Rangers.
“The administrators, or Whyte or Green, that is not Rangers. The fans and the people at the club are Rangers. The fans will never leave Rangers.
“Everyone is all together, Rangers are special. The club has a great history and I hope they have a great future.”