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.

News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
News
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea was left red faced but, thankfully, unhurt after taking a few too many steps backwards, sending her tumbling off the stage.
peopleIggy Azalea was left red faced but apparently unhurt after taking a few too many steps backwards
News
newsComedian Lee Hurst started trend with first tweet using the hashtag
News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A nearly completed RoboThespian robot inside the Engineered Arts workshop is tested in Penryn, England. The Cornish company, operating from an industrial unit near Falmouth, is the world's only maker of commercially available life sized humanoid robots
techSuper-intelligent robots could decide destroying the human race is the kindest thing to do
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Extras
indybest

Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
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

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition