Rangers doomed to life in Third Division

Ibrox club must start from the bottom after rivals reject attempt to retain their SPL status

Aberdeen delivered the final blow to Rangers' flickering hope of playing in the Scottish Premier League next season, with the Old Firm giants now expected to be demoted to the bottom division, ending a 140-year stay in the top flight.

Charles Green, who bought the Gers for £5.5m earlier this month, was informed that he would have to form a new company following forced liquidation. The newco Rangers had to apply to continue their existence in the SPL. The 11 clubs who currently make up the top flight are due to vote on 4 July, but news came to light yesterday that the application is to be rejected by at least five – meaning Rangers will not be readmitted. They have dominated the game north of the border since the turn of the 20th century – winning the league a record 54 times, coupled with 60 cup triumphs.

Rangers' name was replaced by an anonymous "Club 12" in the fixture list, and they are due to be replaced by either Dunfermline or Dundee. Dunfermline finished bottom of the SPL last season, while Dundee were runners-up in the First Division.

The Glasgow club need to secure an 8-4 majority to have their application passed. Heart of Midlothian and Dundee United had already stated that they would be voting against the proposal, and were joined by Hibernian and Inverness Caledonian Thistle. That meant it needed just one more team to follow suit. Aberdeen obliged, as did St Johnstone later in the day.

"Traditionally we have preferred not to make public our voting intentions, but in light of the level of interest and the fact other clubs have chosen to show their hand, on this occasion I can confirm it is our intention to oppose readmission to the SPL for any Rangers newco," the Aberdeen chairman, Stewart Milne, said in a statement.

Hibernian said that the decision of the five clubs "reaffirms the view of the board that the sporting integrity of the SPL is of paramount importance," and there is little talk of fear as to how much money the division can generate without Rangers. Sky Sports and ESPN, the broadcasting companies which show 30 live games a season for a combined fee of £80m in a deal running until the end of the 2016-17 season, refused to be drawn on whether they are bound to the contract until next Wednesday's final vote.

Clubs who have lived in the shadow of Rangers for so long are now eyeing a more competitive race for qualification to the two European competitions. The SPL currently commands two places in the Champions League, with Motherwell having already capitalised on Rangers' ineligibility to play in Europe next season.

The Rangers manager, Ally McCoist, who said in April that demotion to the Third Division would be "morally" correct, has a huge job on his hands keeping his squad together, with players expected to reject the chance to transfer their contracts to the new company.

First-teamers Steven Whittaker and Steven Naismith turned down the opportunity over the weekend, and are now believed to be free agents, while Allan McGregor, club captain Steven Davis and Carlos Bocanegra could also quit Ibrox.

Strathclyde Police have begun an investigation into previous owner Craig Whyte's takeover of Rangers. Whyte was in charge when they went into administration in February. "The investigation into alleged criminality follows a preliminary police examination of information passed to them in February this year by club administrators," Scottish prosecutors said.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths surrounding the enigmatic singer
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
Life and Style
life
Sport
Christian Benteke of Aston Villa celebrates scoring the winner for Aston Villa
football
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
News
Bill O'Reilly attends The Hollywood Reporter 35 Most Powerful People In Media Celebration at The Four Seasons Restaurant on April 16, 2014 in New York City
media It is the second time he and the channel have clarified statements
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn