Scroll crest worn from 1990–1994

Scroll crest worn from 1990–1994 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scottish football has been  caught between a rock and a hard place right this summer. The league football started this weekend and who could have guessed that one half of the Old Firm would be playing their League football this weekend, instead of a next Saturday when the rest of the Scottish Premier League starts.

Glasgow Rangers went into administration last season and were bought by Charles  Green’s Sevco consortium which then created a new company after failing to prevent the old one being liquidated. Scottish Premier League clubs voted against accepting the new club into the top flight and the Scottish Football League clubs voted them into Division Three instead of the First Division. Charles Green has accused some of the SPL clubs of jealousy, pettiness and bigotry after they denied the new Rangers into the SPL. He may be right. Or could also be wrong. We are not here to judge.  The Scottish FA  having taken cognisance of the massive impact the implosion (caused by the Rangers meltdown) would have preferred Rangers to play in the First Division. They attempted to restructure Scottish football and offer incentives to the lower division teams. This alternative was however, unsuccessful as the other teams saw this as a chance to punish the League giants for their misdemeanors. Rangers played Brechin in the League Challenge Cup this weekend and came out winners after extra time by 2-1! A fixture the Rangers of  the past would not even have contemplated during the off-season (unless it was a pre-season friendly or testimonial match).
This refrain shall be heard down in the lower echelons of Scottish League football next few seasons:

Hullo, Hullo
We are the Rangers Boys
Hullo, Hullo
You’ll know us by our noise
We’re down to our knees to see our team
At Ibrox or away
For we are
The Glasgow Rangers Boys

Rangers FC  is definitely down to its knees. Scottish Football too may also be down to its knees as result. As a result of the meltdown at Rangers, the majority of their first teamers have left. The Manager Ally McCoist reckons over 20 players have left. A few have crossed the border to join the likes of Everton FC, Norwich and other Premier League and Championship teams. Rangers deserved to be penalised for the misdeeds of the previous owners/executives. Moreover, tax avoidance is abhorrent. However, penalizing the ‘newco’ so excessively will be to the detriment of Scottish football. How many people outside Scotland will be looking forward to the SPL games on television? Many of the SPL teams are going to suffer financially as a result of the chasm created by the absence of Rangers football club. Clubs like Inverness Caley Thistle and St Mirren (just to mention two) have all ready voiced their concerns. The financial plight that faces Scottish football, in the backdrop of revenues that have not significantly increased for years may take some clubs to the wall. It will be a sad day indeed if any one of the SPL clubs faces bankruptcy or liquidation. Moreover, the absence of the ‘Old Firm’ games will remove the only ‘glamour’ Scottish league game from our screens. Many people from across the globe have always followed the ‘Old Firm’ matches – frenetic, sectarian, absorbing, tribal rivalry very exciting all the time. There will be no one standing in the way of Celtic for the next few years, and if that does not make a League boring! Celtic are a great club, and the rest of the SPL are not anywhere near Celtic in terms of quality or financial power so it is going to be quite interesting to see how things pan out.

Rangers like the phoenix will rise again. They are wounded, and certainly hurt. However, the club with the backing of the thousands of its supporters will get back to the top of league football again. In the meantime the team’s presence in the lower reaches will be good for the 3rd Division teams financially. Juventus suffered the ignominy of relegation to the Serie C in 2006 following one of the worst scandals in Italian football. The Old Lady of Turin only won the Italian Serie A again  last season. We wait to see how Rangers will fight back. We are certain they will come back stronger. Scottish football though may yet suffer more heartache in the meantime.

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