But Raith put the party on hold after Harry Panayiotou scored a late leveller
Harry Forrester and Michael O'Halloran cancelled out Raith's opener
James Craigen's volley just before half-time levelled the match again
Kenny Miller put Gers on course when he struck four-minutes after break
Now the journey goes into a holding pattern for 72 hours. The hard miles were almost behind them, Rangers were seconds from reaching their destination.
Just as the party was about to go into full swing at Stark's Park and the warnings about encroaching on the pitch were spelled out, the Rangers fans who have been waiting these last long four years had their Championship celebrations placed on yet another delay.
At the close of a breathless afternoon's action, the final say was not 'We're Back' from the suspense-filled Val McDermid Stand where the bulk of the 5,000 travelling support were housed and clinging on to every bulletin from across the country in Paisley, where Hibs were to draw with St Mirren.
That result proved irrelevant to Rangers and, instead, the last word was had by a St Kitts and Nevis international, Harry Panayiotou, who caused merry mayhem from the moment he came off the bench on 61 minutes until his scrambled equaliser deep into stoppage-time.
Wes Foderingham produced two superb saves to deny Panayiotou, including one from the penalty spot after Rob Kiernan had tripped up the substitute.
But the goalkeeper was powerless to prevent the touch in a goalmouth melee that torched Rangers dreams of toasting a promotion triumph on Saturday night. They can confirm themselves champions by beating Dumbarton on Tuesday night in front of what will be a capacity Ibrox crowd.
Like so many characters to cut in and out of this wild Rangers story since demotion was confirmed on 25 July, 2012, Panayiotou will long be forgotten by the time Mark Warburton's team arrive back in the top flight.
But his intervention, days after international travels against Aruba and Antigua, gave a stark reminder of how vulnerable this Rangers team can be without the football.
Raith failed to score in three attempts against Rangers in defeats this season but followed the recent exploits of Falkirk and Queen of the South in putting three past Foderingham as the jitters struck Warburton's enterprising side down the stretch once again.
On this evidence, if you don't want Rangers back in the Premiership, then you are of warped mind. If you really find it so hard to embrace, then at least think of the chances aplenty your team will create, the thrillers this Ibrox outfit promises to bring to the top flight.
Ray McKinnon's men, meanwhile, inched a point closer towards clinching a play-off spot.
Watched by the Greatest Ever Ranger, John Greig, the Ibrox men dictated play and dominated possession.
The condition of the pitch was a hindrance as the ball bobbled on its every pass across the surface. Lewis Toshney, patrolling in front of the back four, helped keep Raith initially in shape to stifle the penetration of the visitors.
That enabled Raith, from little hint of threat and without loan Rangers striker Ryan Hardie, to stun the leaders in the 25th minute. From a throw-in on the right, Joel Thomas eased the ball into the direction of Louis Longridge.
From 25 yards out, he swivelled to smack a swerving, dipping volley that caught Foderingham unawares.
That blew the contest wide open as another three goals followed before the break. Rangers raced up the park and James Tavernier teed up Harry Forrester, who looked like sweeping the ball home from eight yards until a brilliant intervention from Kevin Cuthbert.
Forrester wouldn't be denied for long. His movement was excellent, freeing himself to stoop and head in off the base of Cuthbertson's far post for a fifth goal in his last seven games. Then, his movement and vision helped Michael O'Halloran fire them in front.
He linked up with Andy Halliday to wriggle clear in space in the inside- left channel. The delivery Forrester steered across goal was sublime, leaving the former St Johnstone winger with a back-post tap-in.
The back door was left open again by Rangers while in the lead, a worrying end-of-season theme for Warburton. Danny Wilson failed to muster a strong challenge as the ball dropped to James Craigen on the edge of the penalty area.
Foderingham, a star during a streak of nine clean sheets in the first 13 games of 2016, was unsighted but looked at fault as Craigen's volley trickled away from his unconvincing grab on the line.
Rangers, however, hit back and began to create an increasingly party atmosphere. Miller's movement and Halliday's pass split the Raith defence, the ball through weighted delightfully to allow the veteran forward to stride on and thunder a right-foot finish past Cuthbert in front of the travelling fans.
There was further celebration as news of St Mirren taking the lead against Hibs arrived. Jason Holt blazed over then, crucially, Miller was called offside with the ball in the net, much to Rangers' anger.
With that flag call, so Rangers got rocky and put the fans through more misery by failing to hold firm four minutes into added time as Panayiotou preyed on their fragility in the most dramatic fashion.