HIBS fans’ chief Mike Riley today insisted that Rangers must be thrown out of the SPL if Scottish football is to restore any pride to the game.
The Ibrox team were told yesterday that HMRC will reject their nine penny-in-the-pound CVA proposal – a decision that will effectively force them into liquidation.
The deal for Charles Green to officially buy the stricken Glasgow club is expected to go through in days and the new Rangers owner is set to form a new company to allow them to continue to function.
When that happens, the chairmen of the other 11 SPL clubs will face a vote on whether to allow Rangers to remain in their league or demote them to the Third Division.
With a number of fans already warning that they will boycott matches if Rangers are allowed to continue in the SPL, Riley, chairman of the Hibs Supporters’ Club, believes there should be little doubt in their minds over which way to vote.
He said: “I think the majority view among the Hibs supporters is that Rangers should be punished and punished severely. They have done wrong and they should stand up and take whatever comes their way. Whatever way the vote goes, it is going to cause ructions in Scottish football for a long time to come.
“For them to come back as a ‘newco’ and go straight back into the SPL would upset a lot of people and I know a lot of Hibs fans who would be very unhappy if that were to be the case.
“They are due many clubs money, so everyone is being dragged into it.
“I think at the moment, they are getting what they deserve.”
Riley acknowledged that the remaining 11 SPL chairmen are in an extremely difficult position – on one hand determined to preserve sporting integrity and, on the other, aware they could lose a sizeable chunk of cash if Rangers drop down, not to mention the possibility of losing the top-flight TV deal. He stressed, however: “I know that it is a hard one for them but I think that there is only one course that they can take and that is not to allow them back into the league.
“If things are not done right, then you don’t deserve to be there in the first place.
“There are a lot of clubs who can’t afford to lose the money but, then again, they face losing money anyway because a lot of fans have said that they won’t go back to games if Rangers are involved. I honestly believe that the majority of clubs will vote against Rangers. The whole thing has been an embarrassment for Scottish football and I can see the fall-out from it dragging on for years.”