MOSCOW, RUSSIA - AUGUST 04: Head coach Luciano Spalletti of FC Zenit St. Petersburg gestures during the Russian Premier League match between PFC CSKA Moscow and FC Zenit St. Petersburg at the Luzhniki Stadium on August 04, 2012 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Dmitry Korotayev/Epsilon/Getty Images)
Welcome to your new life, Newco Rangers! The Gers off to a rough start in the fourth tier of Scottish football. Elsewhere in Europe, teams like PSG, Zenit and Ajax played games that matter.
Rangers still play football and they still call themselves Rangers, even though the Scottish once-giants will never be the same. One of the most successful clubs in European football began their bankrupt life in Scottish Division Three on Saturday and got off to a less than spectacular start. In other parts of Europe, teams that people will still care about next week also played football matches.
Paris Saint-Germain have a long way to go
Zlatan Ibrahimovic came to PSG and Ligue 1 in the most arrogant way possible. You can get away with being arrogant if you're good, and Zlatan lived up to his opinion of himself with two goals in his PSG debut. Unfortunately for him, his teammates didn't feel like living up to his standard and the richest club in France kicked off their Ligue 1 season with a disappointing 2-2 home draw against Lorient.
This seems like as good a time as any to bust out one of the finest internet videos of all time, which has some naughty words that might not be safe for your workplace.
Elsewhere in France, everyone who was supposed to win actually won. Olympic Lyonnais defeated Rennes 1-0, Lille beat St-Etienne 2-1 and Marseille squeaked out a 1-0 victory over newly promoted Stade de Reims.
In the league's opening match, Montpellier drew Toulouse 1-1 in a wild match that featured three red cards. Souleymane Camara got the champions off to a brilliant start with an early goal, but Jamelle Saihi seriously hindered his team by kicking Francois Sirieix in the head. He was rightfully shown a straight red card for this absolutely abysmal "challenge" for the ball.
Ben Yedder eventually equalized for Toulouse in the 72nd minute, but things went downhill fast for the visitors. Adrien Regattin and Christopher Aurier both picked up red cards, taking Toulouse down to nine men with six minutes remaining. Montpelier pushed for a winner with a man advantage, but couldn't get another goal past Ali Ahamada.
Congratulations to Toulouse and Montpelier for producing the most interesting and eventful game of the week in Ligue 1 for all of the wrong reasons.
Zenit St. Petersburg are still amazing
Most of Zenit St. Petersburg's top players are very old. Their best player, Danny, still hasn't recovered from shredding his knee back in the spring. Even with those hindrances, Zenit laid a 5-0 beatdown on a very decent Spartak Moscow side. Hopefully Brazilian Olympic starter Romulo can help clean things up a bit when he arrives at Spartak.
Zenit took a 3-0 lead before Aiden McGeady got sent off, then Viktor Faizulin added a couple more goals for good measure. They've won all four of their games in the Russian Premier League and have a plus-11 goal differential.
CSKA Moscow, who got smacked around at home by Zenit last week, recovered with a 1-0 home win over ultra-rich Anzhi Makhachkala. Rubin Kazan moved up to second place in Russia, defeating Dynamo Moscow 2-0 on Jose Solomon Rondon's debut with the club. Things did not go well for Lokomotiv Moscow, who played to a disappointing home 2-2 draw with Alania Vladi.
Istanbul derbies are insane
The Turkish SuperLig hasn't started up yet, but Galatasaray and Fenerbahce played the preseason "friendly" that every country has on Sunday, contesting the Turkish Super Cup. Because it was an Istanbul Derby, it wasn't much of a friendly match at all. The game featured some awesome set piece goals and a red card, with Galatasaray nabbing a 3-2 victory.
Volkan Demirel, Fener's starting keeper, was forced out early with an injury that proved costly. Umut Bulut struck first for Galatasaray, getting the better of Fenerbahce backup keeper Fehmi Mert Günok, who made a bad decision to come out for a punch. Günok was beaten easily by Bulut, who headed past him. Just before the stroke of halftime, Alex equalized with a spectacular free kick.
Bulut struck again in the 58th minute, putting Gala back on top after beating the offside trap. They looked to be in control, but went through a disastrous two minute spell in starting in the 66th minute, when Dirk Kuyt equalized with his first competitive goal for Fenerbache. Shortly after the goal, Engin Baytar of Galatasaray was shown a red card, and he reacted by shoving the official, which should earn him a nice lengthy ban to start the league season.
Incredibly, when everything appeared to be going Fenerbahce's way, 10-man Galatasaray found a miracle. Before the match could head to extra time, Bulut drew a penalty in stoppage time, which was converted by Seluck Inan to give Cimbom the shocking victory.
The SPL: Still a thing, but just barely
Lots of football websites that cater mostly to British and American readers still list the Scottish Premier League as one of their "major leagues". It's at least high on the drop-down menu on just about every English-language site. It wasn't a major league when Rangers were still afloat, and it certainly isn't now.
Case in point: Hearts and Hibernian played an Edinburgh derby match on Sunday at Easter Road Stadium, which seats about 24,000 people. It was half full. A local derby between the two biggest teams in a city with nearly 500,000 people in its greater metropolitan area was watched live by only 12,000 people. Incredible.
The match was a 1-1 draw, by the way. Celtic were off this weekend. None of the teams that have played two games -- all of them except for Celtic and Dundee United -- have won both of their games. The Bhoys are going to win the title by at least 20 points.
No one defends in the Eredivisie
If the lack of goals is what the general American sports-consuming populous dislikes about soccer, someone needs to buy the rights to the Eredivisie and show every single game on television. The trend of no defending in the Dutch top flight continued, as 27 total goals were scored over the weekend.
FC Twente look like the strongest team in the league on first glance and they took down FC Groningen in the cruelest way possible. Dusan Tadic, who transferred from Groningen over the summer, scored twice against his old club in Twente's 4-1 victory.
The best viewing came in Amsterdam, where Ajax and AZ Alkmaar played out a 2-2 thriller. American Jozy Altidore starred for AZ, scoring a couple of stunning goals. Ajax went up early on a goal by Gregory van der Wiel and took a 1-0 lead into halftime, but they forgot to show up for the second half. Altidore's goals came in the 48th and 50th minutes, and provided a bit of a wake-up call. Ajax went on to grab an equalizer in the 83rd minute.
Rangers are so miserable
In their first game in the fourth tier of Scottish football, Rangers drew Peterhead 2-2. The only thing that rescued the gigantic-cum-downtrodden club from complete embarrassment was a stoppage time winner by Andrew Little. Even though most of their best players have departed, Rangers played a team full of professional players with top-flight experience and struggled in their Scottish Division Three debut.
Finally, the stuff we covered in depth over the weekend
Monday's other weekend recaps