THE light becomes brighter with every step that is climbed. It is only once the top is reached that the full majesty of Ibrox comes into view.

It is a journey some of us are privileged to take – either through work or pleasure – many times a season. Week after week, year after year, it still stirs the senses and the soul.

That first time, that first game, will never be forgotten. For my six-year-old step-daughter, that moment came last Tuesday evening as the sun bathed the famous red brick façade in a warm glow and kissed the green surface while the blue sea of Ibrox filled up around her.

The game today is as money-driven and commercial as it ever has been. Online, club loyalties provoke bitterness and abuse like never before and the relationship supporters have with sections of the Press will sadly become even more strained.

The start of the new campaign this weekend offers opportunity and excitement. There will be trials and tribulations, accusations and recriminations, as worthy champions are crowned and the bonds that tie supports together and fans to their club are tested.

For 90 minutes at Ibrox, the essence of football, of following your team, was reinforced. It was an experience shared as a family.

If one friendly fixture against West Ham United proves to be the last game we attend as a trio, it will be accepted and sad in equal measure. If it transpires to be the start of a lifelong love affair with Rangers and the game, then the proud parents will be there every step of the way.

The three goals were greeted with such pure joy that it warmed the heart. The smiles directed from left and right were as beaming as the one that looked out onto the park when Tom Lawrence, Ryan Kent and Rabbi Matondo scored.

Within a second of the net bulging, the middle seat between us was flipped and an excited kid was clambering on it for a better view, determined to be part of the moment alongside the majority of those in a crowd of more than 30,000 at Ibrox.

The flag that was purchased outside on the walk to the ground was waved with carefree enthusiasm, while a red, white and blue scarf was later twirled with the same eagerness as those gazing, intrigued eyes darted between the action on the park and what was going on all around in the stands.

That moment was captured by friend and colleague Willie Vass from trackside and those pictures – a handful of candid shots amongst the scores of selfies and snaps taken – vie for iPhone screen space. At present, it is one with Broxi Bear that takes pride of place.

The photos and videos will act as reminders of the evening for some time to come but that first game will be stored in the memory bank of a girl who soaks up information with a remarkable ease and willingness. It will hopefully take up a special place in her heart and mind.

The sights and sounds of the Union Bears away to our left were captivating. This wasn’t just a kickabout, it was an event, a concoction of noises, smells and feelings that will perhaps have another member of the Rangers Family hooked for life.

The journey to Ibrox had been filled with renditions of ‘The Blue Sea of Ibrox’ and ‘Super Trouper’ from the back seat. There would be no chance to see three stars of that Abba hit – Hagi, Roofe and Bassey – in action but James Tavernier quickly became a figure to focus on once the action started as the role of captain was taken on board by a young mind that was fuelled by a sense of adventure. And Skittles.

That rainbow-coloured bag of sugar and E Numbers was necessary long before an impromptu stop at McDonald’s on the way home that delayed bedtime even further.

It was the night that Rangers opened their kiosks under the stewardship of Levy UK, their new commercial partner and food and beverage supplier, for the first time. To say there is room for improvement would be an understatement.

Complaints over stock, service and quality have been commonplace following the West Ham and Tottenham fixtures and supporters are right to demand and expect better. Like many other aspects where the fans are concerned, the sales pitch doesn’t match the reality.

The same can be said of the Store at Ibrox. Unless you want to part with serious cash for a replica strip or Castore gear, there is almost no point in having a look around a retail space that is more missed opportunity than money making machine.

Previous trips could have seen bags filled with toys and trinkets had they been available, but there is a dearth of branded goods and gifts, items that can be mementos and keepsakes.

More money was spent outside Ibrox at catering vans and stalls than went into the club and a rare day there on a personal basis rather than professional one only highlighted the areas of improvement that Rangers must continue to strive for. There is, then, no margin for error when Edmiston House finally opens its doors.

Work will thankfully dictate a return to Ibrox long before then. In the meantime, a love of Rangers will hopefully continue to grow at home as one young girl continues to be fascinated with the game that she has already shown an adeptness at when she pulls on her boots.

A trip to Belgium on Champions League duty next week – or ‘another holiday’ as she cheekily calls it – will see a gift brought back and questions asked upon my return as Rangers embark on another European adventure just weeks after finishing one that saw supporters dare to dream.

There is no need to push football or Rangers. The game and the club speaks for itself and inspires in its own right and if this is the path for her, either on the park on in the stand, then she will be encouraged every other Saturday.

Football remains the beautiful game. For young and old, a reminder of that will never be a bad thing as fans across the country prepare for another campaign with our first love.