A consortium headed by former Sheffield United chief executive Charles Green has agreed to buy financially stricken Rangers. Administrators yesterday confirmed the deal, an American takeover of the club having collapsed on Tuesday.
The administrators also announced that an "irrevocable" contract had been struck and the group – unlike the former preferred bidder Bill Miller – cannot now back out.
Under the plans for the £8.5m takeover, Rangers should exit bankruptcy protection before the start of the new season.
"There are 20 individuals and families who have pledged support – the cash is in a bank account," said Green. "No investor will own more than 15 per cent. There are some investors from the UK, the Middle East, Asia and the Far East."
Green said the names of the investors would be released if the club is granted a Company Voluntary Arrangement – a legal procedure which helps rescue a struggling firm by agreeing to deals with creditors over the repayment of debt. Rangers entered bankruptcy protection in February following a long-running tax dispute.
Gers' already narrow hopes of retaining the Scottish Premier League title were ended by a 10-point deduction that was automatically triggered by going into administration. The full takeover is expected to go through at the start of June.
"We are not out of the woods yet," Rangers manager Ally McCoist told the BBC. "Once the complete sale goes through prior to 6 June, I will be the most relieved man in the country."
On the pitch yesterday, Sone Aluko claimed a hat-trick as Rangers cruised to a win at St Johnstone in their final SPL game of the season.
Lee McCulloch set the ball rolling at McDiarmid Park before Aluko netted three second-half goals, with the hosts failing to find the win that would allow them to claim a Europa League spot.
Their great rivals, Celtic, had an even more emphatic win, smashing Hearts 5-0 at Parkhead, Gary Hooper helping himself to all five goals as the champions ended the season in style.
The former Scunthorpe striker grabbed a first-half hat-trick, one coming from the spot, as Neil Lennon's men demolished the much-changed visitors. Hooper struck twice more after the break, his fifth from a Georgios Samaras cross with three minutes remaining, taking his tally for the season to 29 and joining Kenny Miller and Kris Boyd as players who have scored five goals in an SPL game.
The romp confirmed Celtic's supremacy this season, with Neil Lennon's men finishing on 93 points, one more than last season when they came second behind Rangers.