Rangers have been excluded from the SPL and now face an uphill battle to stay in the football league. What a mistake for Scottish football.
Earlier this year, Scottish Premier League club, Rangers entered administration and were consequently docked ten points and losing out on not only the SPL title to their arch rivals but a place in Europe and, as of last week, their place in the top tier of Scottish football for the 2012-13 season.
Tomorrow afternoon the ‘newco’ Rangers will receive the results of similar votes by the SFL clubs’ chairmen to the ones they lost out on last week to re-gain entry into the Premier League. The future doesn’t look bright for Rangers however and with the likes of Annan Athletic refusing to vote for their place in Division One as they would lose out on £60,000 – the club has since released a statement calling for them to be demoted to the third division of Scottish football.
Henry McLelland, the Annan Athletic chairman referred everyone to the trouble Gretna wound up in a few years back. Gretna rose through the Scottish divisions before falling into administration in their only season in the SPL. McLelland stated that Rangers’ fate should mirror that of Gretna’s as they fell out of both the SPL and, eventually, the football league with Livingston also heading the same way having being demoted three divisions recently.
Only Kilmarnock backed Rangers in last week’s vote.
Dunfermline who were relegated from the Premier League will be granted a place back in the SPL but their chairman, John Yorkston who rejected them from the top flight remains hopeful they can reside in either the first or third division after re-structuring. A long string of clubs, however, have voiced their concern with Rangers only dropping the one division, among those include four of the ten Division One sides for next season.
For Rangers, it will be a brand new start whichever fate the clubs of the Scottish football league befits them. With key players like Steven Davis, Nikicia Jelavic and Steven Naismith all leaving in the past eight months they will have to re-build.
Rangers, who have 54 SPL titles to their name as well as a combined total of 60 Scottish cups through a solitary Cup Winners’ Cup title in 1972 are an established figurehead in British and incredibly, European football.
With Rangers’ admission from European football, Motherwell will take up their mantle in the Champions League and along with the likes of Hearts, St. Johnstone and Dundee United representing Scotland in Europe this season.
With Celtic seemingly flying the flag alone with any purpose for Scotland this season, Scottish football will subsequently suffer as Rangers falls into the football league. The television revenue sparked by the interest even English fans have, especially for the Old Firm games.
Without these old firm matches, the dwindling prospect of a Scottish team in the Champions League group stages and the competition, or lack of, for Celtic in the SPL will allow them to run riot domestically.
You could mirror Rangers leaving the SPL with likes of Cardiff City and Swansea City embarking on an adventure in the football league in England as opposed to their traditional path of the Welsh Premier League. The slump in Welsh and indeed Irish football has seen them ranked as one of the lowest European leagues in the UEFA coefficient table.
It has been a long four years since a Scottish side made the knockout stage of the Champions League and thanks to early knockouts in qualification for the past couple of years has seen them drop nine places into 27th below the likes of Belarus, Serbia, Slovakia and Czech Republic for the 2013/14 season.
This means they will be receiving the same Champions League and Europa League places for the following season as all three of Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland which shows that Rangers’ demotion could be the beginning of the end for Scottish football.
Scotland owes a lot to Rangers F.C., for their countless trophies, contributions and for putting Scottish football on the map, alongside Aberdeen and Celtic. They will be sorely missed if tomorrow they don’t get accepted into the Football League, after all Scottish football depends on Rangers.