Ally McCoist looked briefly lost for words when that was pointed out to him at Murray Park yesterday, but it would be an exaggeration to say he was shocked. It would take a fair bit to shock the Rangers manager these days.
It seemed to take him a couple of seconds to get his head around the fact it was four years to the day since he was assistant manager of the team which went to Italy and eliminated Fiorentina on penalties. Manchester and the 2008 Uefa Cup final seems a lifetime ago, although right now McCoist feels as though he's living an entire life in every passing week.
All the wearingly familiar topics were kicked around at his media briefing ahead of tonight's match against Dundee United; everything except the actual football. Liquidation, a "newco", the palpable threat to Rangers surviving in their current form, playing in the third division next season, and Scottish Football Association and Scottish Premier League sanctions were all put to McCoist. He batted them all back with a sense of exasperated, unwilling expertise. McCoist could go on Mastermind with this mess as his specialist subject.
"Was Florence four years ago today?" he asked. "The first three years after that were all right. It's only this year that's been a shambles, really. I'm talking about the situation at our club and the whole circus that's been surrounding the club."
Circus? At least a circus is organised and pre-planned. McCoist doesn't know how many senior players he will have next season, who the owners, chairman or directors will be, what punishments will have been imposed on Rangers and even which division they will be in.
Realistically they could end up in the third division only if they are liquidated in full, reborn as a "newco" and voluntarily decide not to apply for the vacant "share" to compete in the SPL because they felt the accompanying sanctions would condemn them to possible relegation. In that event, they would apply to join the Scottish Football League in the third division. It's generally accepted that the other SPL clubs would vote to allow a "newco" Rangers into the top flight, albeit with sanctions which have still to be decided.
Rangers in the bottom tier is an extremely unlikely scenario given that dropping in among the country's smallest senior clubs would be ruinous to either the Blue Knights or Bill Miller's business plan, but for the past week McCoist has been circulating it as a potential outcome.
"I'm not resigned to that," he said. "It would be the most drastic and shocking [outcome]. It would shock everybody. But a lot of people might think that's the right thing to do, morally it might be the right thing to do, and I have to prepare everybody for that eventuality if it happens. I have to say there's now a far greater chance of it happening than there's ever been. I'm not saying that I want to do it, but I have to be realistic and prepare for it.
McCoist found it "heartening" that Neil Doncaster, the SPL chief executive, had hinted that a "newco" application would be successful. "I think in many ways the SPL boys, and obviously the SFA, are in a no-win situation because there will be people saying they've not been heavy enough on us and others saying they've been too heavy on us. But I have to look at what's best for Rangers. Is it best for Rangers to stay in the SPL fielding a very non-competitive team that could be relegated? Or is it better going to SFL 3 and saying 'look, this is it, this is where we are, let's try and build again'. I don't know the answer to it but you have to prepare yourself for all possibilities.
"Not being able to make pre-season plans is probably as disturbing as anything. We've got a date pencilled in to come back but we don't know anything about pre-season opposition because, you have to be honest about it, I don't want to embarrass our club. If we're going to start off next season in SFL 3, darn tooting we're not going to be playing Bayern Munich at Ibrox pre-season. I wouldn't be embarrassing us that way. So we have to wait and see what the situation is. If we have to stay at Murray Park for pre-season then that's what we'll have to do.
"If liquidation and a 'newco' happened, we'd still have the history of the club, absolutely. I can imagine people would try and wind up the support about it, but make no mistake about it: we wouldn't lose our history at all. If there is a team playing at Ibrox in blue shirts, it's Rangers."
McCoist said the club had still to see the best of him as a manager. Many supporters will hope he's right.
United will be at Ibrox tonight for the first time since knocking McCoist's team out of the Scottish Cup there in February – Peter Houston's side beat them the following month, too. They will arrive with more optimism than usual about getting another result to maintain their pursuit of Motherwell, third place and entry to the Champions League qualifiers.
It wasn't like this four years ago.