By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Almost three years to the day since Newcastle travelled to Ibrox for a pre-season friendly on Saturday, 7th August 2010, the Magpies will once again take on Rangers in Glasgow - but a great deal has changed since then.
For the Magpies, of course, there have been comings and goings - including the departure of then-manager Chris Hughton and the arrival of Alan Pardew - but eight of the 18 players on duty that afternoon are still with the black and whites, who were about to start their first season back in the top flight when they last faced the Gers in front of 30,220, including almost 4,000 United fans.
But things could barely be any more different for Rangers, who were the reigning Scottish Premier League champions back then but last season found themselves in the Third Division.
They were demoted to the bottom tier after being liquidated last summer, in much the same way as Newcastle's neighbours Darlington were severely punished for their own financial plight by being sent down several divisions, but the Gers easily won the title last term as they begin their march back to where they belong.
Amassing 83 points and losing only three games all season, the Light Blues finished 22 points clear of Peterhead in second place and will be looking to gain a second successive promotion next term.
Only one of the players who started for them that day when they beat United 2-1 is still with the club - Lee McCulloch - as well as two of the substitutes, Kyle Hutton and Andrew Little, while boss Walter Smith (now their chairman) has been succeeded by Ally McCoist.
But they still averaged an incredible 45,750 at Ibrox last term, despite facing the likes of East Stirling, Annan Athletic, Berwick and Elgin, and remain one of the most famous and successful outfits in Britain despite their current ranking.
And while this summer's meeting will be the first senior clash between the two teams since 2010, Newcastle did face Rangers in the semi-finals of the Citibank Hong Kong Football Club International Soccer Sevens in May. The Magpies ran out 3-2 winners thanks to a goal from Michael Richardson and a Sammy Ameobi brace, with Robbie Crawford and Jamie Burrows on target for the Gers.
The respective line-ups three years ago, when Kenny Miller and Steven Naismith scored for the hosts and former Ger Peter Lovekrands netted for the visitors, were:
Rangers: Allan McGregor, David Weir, Kirk Broadfoot, Sasa Papac (Gregg Wylde 63), Lee McCulloch, Maurice Edu, Steven Davis, Kenny Miller (Kyle Lafferty 63), Steven Naismith, Steven Whittaker, Madjid Bougherra
Subs not used: Neil Alexander, Andrius Velicka, Jordan McMillan, Andrew Little, Andrew Shinnie, Kyle Hutton, Archie Campell
Newcastle United: Steve Harper, James Perch (Shane Ferguson 81), Jose Enrique (Ryan Taylor 55), Fabricio Coloccini (James Tavernier 81), Mike Williamson, Wayne Routledge (Xisco 82), Danny Guthrie, Joey Barton, Kevin Nolan, Jonas Gutierrez (Peter Lovenkrands 69), Andy Carroll (Shola Ameobi 46)
Sub not used: Tim Krul