Dundee to replace Rangers in SPL


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The Independent Football

Dundee will be invited into the Clydesdale Bank Premier League season to replace Rangers, the SPL confirmed today.

Irn-Bru First Division runners-up Dundee were chosen ahead of relegated Dunfermline during the league's annual general meeting at Hampden today.

Rangers newco chief executive Charles Green and manager Ally McCoist arrived at Hampden ahead of the meeting.

But, despite reports of a possible U-turn in recent days, SPL clubs agreed to work towards the decision made by Scottish Football League clubs to put the Ibrox club in the Third Division.

An SPL statement read: "It was agreed that the SPL would work with the Scottish FA, SFL and Rangers to facilitate Rangers FC taking their place in SFL Division 3 this season.

"It was agreed that Dundee FC would be invited to fill the space vacated by Rangers FC in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League."

Ten SPL clubs voted to reject the Rangers newco application to the top flight on July 4 but a plan from the executives of the three main football authorities to put them in the First Division was subsequently rejected by 25 SFL clubs.

That sparked reports of a potential U-turn and St Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour warned his club would be among five in the SPL who would struggle to remain solvent in the coming weeks and months.

But Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee United and Hearts insisted over the weekend that there would be no revisitation of the vote.

And the SPL statement appeared to shelve plans for a an SPL2, which was mooted by SFA chief executive Stewart Regan when he spoke to SFL clubs detailing his predictions for the impact of the various scenarios.

The decision to promote Dundee could spark legal action from Dunfermline, who believed precedents meant they should have been reinstated.

The plan put to SFL clubs by Regan and SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster involved promoting Dundee.

The SPL also announced the new make-up of the organisation's board with Ralph Topping re-elected as chairman.

St Johnstone chairman Steve Brown and Motherwell vice-chairman Derek Weir stepped down from the six-man board.

Aberdeen chief executive Duncan Fraser, Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston, Celtic director Eric Riley and Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson will serve beside Doncaster and Topping next season.

Dunfermline were holding a board meeting this afternoon to discuss their response.

St Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour was the first to emerge from the SPL meeting just before 2pm.

Gilmour had warned over the weekend of "catastrophic" consequences of the SFL vote and claimed Saints would have to battle to avoid being among up to five SPL clubs who could enter administration in the coming months. He was much more positive today, if not as talkative.

He said: "It was a really good meeting, really positive. It's time to move on."

Ross County chairman Roy MacGregor shared his mood.

MacGregor said: "Everyone was very positive about the negotiations. I'm sure we'll go on from here."

MacGregor admitted retaining television money would be crucial and said it was too early to say whether the deals were safe.

Doncaster had predicted the league would lose £15.7million in commercial deals, mostly from broadcasting partners, if the Rangers newco was launched in the Third Division. MacGregor added: "Every club has suffered over the past period of time and we're looking to pick up and go forward.

"We've been going back for a while.

"I'm the new kid on the block so it's really difficult to ask me these questions. But I'm really positive today.

"It's a positive move from Rangers, they were there and were delighted today and I'm sure the team coming up will be delighted as well."

Dundee's promotion means the new Rangers could kick off life in the Ramsden's Cup against Brechin. Dundee were down to play at Glebe Park in the first round on July 28.

Sevco Scotland, who bought the assets of Rangers for £5.5million when the club was consigned to liquidation, have still to gain membership of the SFA though with the governing body still considering their application.

Regan vowed on July 4 that he could not allow the game to suffer a "slow, lingering death" that he believed would come about if the Ibrox club had to go to the Third Division but any intervention now would be difficult to justify or force through given the SPL have accepted the SFL decision, which was backed by 25 of the 30 clubs.

SPL bound: Dundee facts

1893 - Dundee FC founded after a merger between local teams Our Boys and East End.

1899 - The club move to Dens Park from their original Carolina Port ground.

1910 - Win first competition after beating Clyde in a twice-replayed Scottish Cup final.

1952 - Dundee's next trophy does not come until they lift the Scottish League Cup following a 3-2 win over Rangers.

1953 - The Dark Blues become the first team to retain the League Cup, this time beating Kilmarnock 2-0.

1962 - Bob Shankly, brother of Liverpool's legendary boss Bill Shankly, guides Dundee to their first league title - winning the First Division on the final day of the season.

1963 - In their first ever European competition Dundee reach the semi-finals of the European Cup before losing 5-2 on aggregate to eventual winners AC Milan.

1964 - Lose Scottish Cup Final after going down 3-1 against Rangers.

1968 - Dundee again lose at the semi-final stage of a European competition - losing 2-1 to Leeds in the Inter Cities Fairs Cup.

1973 - Silverware returns to Dens Park with a 1-0 victory over Celtic in the Scottish League Cup.

1975 - Dundee are among the founder members of the Scottish Premier Division but are relegated at the end of the first season.

1980 - After returning to the top flight Dundee again only survive for a single season.

1998 - Promotion from the First Division means Dundee take part in the inaugural Scottish Premier League season and finish an unexpected fifth.

2003 - After spiralling costs and the inability to sell on big-name players, such as Claudio Caniggia, the club enter administration with debts close to £20million.

2005 - Relegated back down to Division One where they would achieve three runners-up spots over the next seven years.

2012 - Despite finishing 24 points behind First Division champions Ross County, Dundee's runners-up position sees them promoted back to the top flight due to newco Rangers' application to join the SPL being rejected.