No other response was possible when so few of the standards expected of a team of such resources and ability were met. The pain etched on the faces of the players and coaching staff as they trudged up the tunnel at Forthbank Stadium might as well have been a look of helplessness. The club's away record in the third division is galling, but this was a nadir.
Every aspect of the game was a source of indignation. Stirling Albion were bottom of the league, had not won in five matches and their manager had to give his team talk last Thursday night because yesterday he was getting married. The home side's goalkeeper, Sam Filler, even played for a spell in the first half with vision in only one eye after a collision with Lee McCulloch. He was replaced at half-time, blood pouring from his mouth, but the setbacks were only being endured by the visitors.
This was a stark display of Rangers' inability to react to their circumstances – their play sluggish, mundane, and often lacking in purpose. Only Fraser Aird showed any of the directness or urgency needed to break down the doggedness of Stirling's defenders, but he seldom received the ball. The same applied to Anestis Argyriou on the right flank, as Rangers ignored the width in their team by passing the ball into the congested middle of the pitch.
Stirling sat so deep there was no room for Rangers players to run in behind, and they were so well organised that there were no gaps to play through. No visiting player, apart from Aird, was prepared to run at the defence, though, or try to alter the flow of the game by taking on their direct opponent. McCulloch hit the post with a header in the first half, and had another cleared off the line after the break, but they were half-chances and Rangers soon reverted to a sense of anxiety which caused them to sling high balls forward towards Kevin Kyle.
"The back four handled big Lee and big Kevin," said Shaun Fagan, Stirling's assistant manager. "It was never going to be pretty from us, but we dug in. One of the players, Stephen Day, is sitting in the dressing room saying that he doesn't want to go home or even take his kit off."
It was a momentous occasion for Stirling, not least because their form has been abject. It was Rangers, though, who could only bemoan some old failings. The players and coaching staff held a team meeting last Monday to try to end this spell of discontent, but even that turned out to be a futile gesture.
"There are a lot of new players, a lot of foreign players who don't speak English and a lot of young players, but those are just excuses," said McCulloch. "It's a reality check for everybody."
The visitors were immediately vulnerable. It took only eight minutes for Stirling to score, when the ball fell to Brian Allison in the penalty area from a corner kick, and the centre-back turned the ball past Neil Alexander. "C'mon Ally, cheer up," somebody shouted towards the Rangers dugout, but the strain was already evident.
"We created enough chances to win, but we didn't take them and were punished," McCoist said. "We're really sore, but we'll bounce back."
While Rangers could only dwell on their own shortcomings, the elation belonged to Stirling.
"I don't think any of the boys will cap this even if they go on to have 20-year careers," said Allison.