Play in England? You're better off improving the SPL, Whyte is told

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The Independent Online

The Scottish Football Association have vowed to focus on making the domestic game as attractive as possible after Rangers owner Craig Whyte reopened the issue of the Old Firm moving to England.

Whyte revealed in a newspaper interview that his club were working on a possible move to the Premier League and also exploring the idea of forming a league with teams from other northern European countries.

Previous attempts to generate interest in the English top flight over the prospect of Celtic and Rangers moving south have fallen flat and SFA president Campbell Ogilvie is keen to focus on improving the Scottish game with the Glasgow pair.

"I haven't read the article but the issue does tend to come up every few years," Ogilvie said. "What we've got to concentrate on is making the Scottish Premier League as attractive and financially viable as possible. I believe any chairman at any club has to look for the best for his own club.

"The Atlantic League was a model that was put forward some 10 years ago. It didn't progress very far. I believe we have to focus on making the Scottish game as attractive as possible, both for the supporters and financially.

"Obviously Rangers and Celtic are an integral part of the game in Scotland and that's the way I would certainly see it going forward."

Whyte spoke about moving to England in an interview focusing on the financial challenges facing Rangers, which include a tax tribunal that could ultimately cost the Ibrox club £49m.

Whyte is confident of winning the case but admitted administration was an "obvious" choice in the event of an adverse result.

Whyte told The Daily Telegraph: "I will not allow the club to go bust. I can control the debt process absolutely, and whatever happens Rangers is going to be there playing in the SPL at Ibrox."

He added: "If we went forward into another league set-up, say the English Premier League, then it is very viable to put £100m more in. We are not there at the moment, but we would like to be.

"[Joining the Premier League] is clearly something that we would like to see examined, it is something we are working on behind the scenes.

"But there are other potential ideas in terms of European leagues, joining some of the Nordic countries, the Netherlands to create a league."

Meanwhile, Whyte defended himself against sceptics who doubt he has the wealth needed to turn around the Ibrox club's financial affairs.

The Motherwell-born businessman said: "I have got four offices in the City, I have venture capital funds, I have asset management companies, I have stockbroking businesses, I have businesses in France, in Holland, I have got thousands of employees, but I don't see why I should make every aspect of that public."

On the pitch, Rangers manager Ally McCoist has urged Maurice Edu to continue the transformation in fortunes he is now enjoying after coming through a difficult spell.

The American midfielder has battled with indifferent form and criticism from the stands in recent times but has shown a major improvement in the last few matches.

He impressed in the Old Firm derby win over Celtic and grabbed a superb goal against Dunfermline at the weekend, before producing a man of the match display in Tuesday night's 2-0 Scottish Premier League win over Kilmarnock.

McCoist said: "I'm delighted with Maurice and I'm just pleased for him. There have been times when the form hasn't been great and he's been getting a little bit of criticism, as everybody does, when you sometimes warrant it and things aren't going well.

"I have said before that he will play his way out of it and keep going and he's got to keep doing that.

"He's that kind of player, he has to use his aggression and his athleticism and he is no mean footballer as well once he uses his first two attributes, which are very important to his game.

"The better qualified people to talk about Maurice Edu would be his team-mates because that's the type of player he is and they are all pleased for him."

Second-half goals from Nikica Jelavic and Gregg Wylde sealed the victory over a Kilmarnock side who put up a strong fight against the Scottish champions.

Jelavic and Steven Davis, in particular, combined well for Rangers and McCoist admits those players are crucial when required to secure a hard-fought win over tough opponents.

He said: "You're not going to totally dominate every game so what you need is players within your team who are match-winners, who can provide a spark when the team needs it.

"It won't happen all the time but we feel we've got individual players within a team who can give you a spark and who are match-winners. Certainly those two boys provided that spark."

He added: "We carried our luck a little bit but I was delighted with the clean sheet.

"We looked fairly solid. There were one or two incidents where we could have defended better but a clean sheet is really important as I always feel we have players who can nick one at the other end."

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