Where now for the impotent and irrelevant Rangers? What the hell do we care

Yesterday of course saw SPFL clubs reject an independent investigation into last month’s vote to end the lower-league season in Scotland.

In the end it was a resounding defeat – despite the cut paste and twist efforts of the press corps usual suspects – for ‘the’ Rangers proposal.

The motion backed by Hearts and Stranraer would have required 32 from 42 member clubs to vote for it to pass. In the end the proposal managed only an extra ten on top of those who proposed it, while 27 voted against and two abstained, probably with a sigh.

It’s fair to say in electoral terms it was a kicking. A performance like that at the ballot box would have repercussions for party leaders. For Stewart Robertson it may still. Surely his own position on that SPFL board is no longer tenable.

Stewart Robertson’s position on the SPFL Board is surely untenable

For Hearts and Stranraer to back the proposal made some sense from self-serving positions. Relegation is something they would wish to avoid, with league reconstruction talks now collapsing their fate now seems sealed, therefore backing ‘the’ Rangers motion – although with hindsight foolish – made some sense at the time. As such they avoid the humiliation of connection to this proposal.

Over at Ibrox however it is a different story. ‘Rangers’ have been humiliated by this result. This battle fought with the SPFL and the all-out Civil war that broke out in the press in the two weeks leading up to the vote was borne entirely of self-interest. They lost this despite somehow retaining unequivocal, or near to it, support from Scotland’s press to force home their objective.

Whether this was to stop Celtic win 9-in-a-row or whether that was simply a suitable smokescreen for their real agenda we can only guess. They are heading fast for financial trouble, perhaps even administration. The funding gaps and pending litigation is akin to a ship taking on far too much water, it could be going under.

If they do hit the rocks, an  administration will cost them a 15 point deficit during the 10-in-a-row campaign to follow. In short a meek surrender.

A drawn out Covid-19 affair will see others head for the administration trap-door also. This extension of affected clubs could see the SPFL have to make a decision as to whether the points deductions would be enforced. If other clubs go first then ‘the’ Rangers can join the list and blame the lack of income from the virus shutdown, hence the scorched earth approach from Ibrox.

Rumour is that the conversations have been had and so far the SPFL has held firm. They are not planning to remove the 15 point deduction. It is likely they will have to prove the administration was due to Covid 19 and not due to previous overstretching of finances if they ever do. To do that accounts will have to be submitted and a certain club may struggle to make their case.

Having already been refused a loan by the SPFL, there is clear exasperation emanating from Ibrox that those at the SPFL are no longer operating by the traditional rules. This proposal was their last hope for change without taking this case down the legal route, something incidentally they cannot afford and would alienate themselves from UEFA never mind the rest of Scottish football.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The call for suspensions of Neil Doncaster and Rod McKenzie, as well as questioning the allegiances and impartiality of Murdoch MacLennan, was the last desperate attempt at a coup.

If those making the decisions didn’t bow to their demands they’d have them removed, replaced and try again. Perhaps this time those in office will be trained in the ways business should be done in Scotland. Third knuckle presses and staunch sympathy?

In short this looks like an opportunistic attempt to conceal financial mismanagement at Ibrox, coupled with a somewhat cynical attempt to undermine all member clubs, then replace Doncaster and McLennan with more suitable alternatives open to their motives and persuasion.

To quote the now ostracised journalist Jim Spence from twitter a couple of weeks back now.

“the People who used to be the People are no longer the People….but haven’t realised it yet. ‘We were the people’ doesn’t chime. A combination of historic factors…falling Kirk attendance-less reverential societal cap doffing- blissful arrogance + Celtic ££ has done for them.”

‘The’ Rangers will spin this result – as we are already seeing from their press lapdogs like Tom English – that 13 votes means they have support. This is down to journalists who backed the wrong horse now praying for a steward’s enquiry, in the vain hope they can still cash in their betting slip. Unfortunately the race is over and the jockey’s wave weighed in.

This was not just the end of the game around the initial proposal it was the last whimpering actions of a club and a culture now left with little relevance in society.

As life moves on at pace those pining for the days of the long gone empire have to question their relevance in modern society. What school you went to is becoming irrelevant. Positions of power are less and less influenced by masonic halls and replaced by a meritocracy. Rangers as a club and its supporters are being marginalised and this vote shows on the margins they now remain.

UEFA’s direct action to their racist and illegal songbook is such an example. Their politics you could argue are now beyond those margins, they are on the outside looking in.

It was little surprise that yesterday’s meeting saw Peter Lawwell given the floor to make an impassioned speech. Giving the Celtic CEO – who had until yesterday remained silent on the matter – the floor showed just where ‘the’ Rangers are in the whole scheme of things. It was an orchestrated and vengeful reminder of the order of things.

Peter Lawwell and Dermot Desmond at Hampden

Football, though one of the last to fall into line, is no longer following those traditional means and without adjusting ‘the’ Rangers are becoming entirely irrelevant. There is a new order in Scottish football. The repercussion of liquidation is that in their absence they have become obselete.

Just because the titles transferred and the press supported the continuation myth didn’t mean that on the inside and on the playing field Celtic weren’t growing stronger politically and on the park. Those in the press who followed the narrative now look exceedingly foolish. That they are still trying to spin this despite the imbecilic look it portrays, shows exactly whose pocket they were in. To regain any professional self-respect now will take a monumental effort on their part and their cards are marked.

And now ‘the’ Rangers stand alone, their self-serving position is clear they are without cover and entirely impotent within Scottish football.

That this opportunity for one last salvo was afforded to them is entirely down to the shambles the SPFL created, but we’ll deal with Doncaster later. He may be grinning from ear to ear today but this victory – in a vote that occurred due to mismanagement on his watch – hasn’t been missed.

Rangers have been left isolated and without the influence they possibly even believed they still held. Any dignity they thought they retained was lost with the vote. Now Scottish football moves on and tries to repair broken relationships and prepare for the unknown that lies ahead. Whether that is with or without the involvement of the Ibrox club is now as irrelevant as they are.

Niall J


INVINCIBLE is Matt Corr’s stunning debut as a published Celtic author.

INVINCIBLE has 288 pages plus a bumper 32 pages of colour courtesy of the wonderful Vagelis Georgariou at Big Lens, capturing all the action from that magical Celtic year – surely the best since season 1966-67 when Celtic also won the Treble and added the European Cup!

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Invincible author Matt Corr is a stadium tour guide at Celtic Park, writes for the match day programme and is a popular contributor to The Celtic Star, where he covers Celtic players from the past in great detail as well as writing about the club’s European trips from the perspective of the travelling Hoops support.

“I am in a training camp in Poland and they are there. They stand up and cheer, then start to sing. “He’s magic, you know, Erik Sviatchenko.” I turn to my teammates. “Listen guys. They are everywhere!” That love that you show to every player makes you unique. If I were still in Glasgow, I would walk around with a sign on my back. ‘I am Invincible! Have you ever tried that?’

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About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

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