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The Psychological Landscape of Scottish Football has changed

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I do not know why this should be, other than the effect of the Daily Record “exclusive” on the Ticketus story.

Some of us had pointed the way in June of last year.

The story was always there for a sports desk to run with it. The unthinkable is now being planned for by the people who hold positions of power and authority in Scottish football.

Stewart Regan seems to think he can reach the nation through Twitter. The defence of the “Old Firm” brand is in full swing.

Should the “big tax bill” crystallise and the cash flow situation at Rangers deteriorate then the club established in 1872 (I know it has 1873 on the crest) will cease to exist.

It will, literally, be the end of “The Rangers” and the connection with the past will be broken.

A new company and new club could be set up and it could call itself Rangers, but it would not be the club established when Queen Victoria was on the imperial throne.

“Rangers 2012” would be a new club.

The movers and shakers in this are already positioning their ducks in the correct order for the “New Co” to be parachuted into the SPL without any penalty.

If Rangers (1873) go into administration then there is mandatory 10 point penalty in the SPL. If the liquidation occurs then the “NewCo” does not have any penalty laid down in the SPL rules.

The penalty could be draconian or there could be no penalty at all.

Given that Planet Fitba is considering the unthinkable (Rangers being liquidated) then perhaps you might want to consider this:

If Rangers were liquidated and, for the sake of this argument, were not allowed to come back straight into the SPL as a “NewCo” then what would happen?

I suspect that the “provincial clubs in the West of Scotland might benefit. Perhaps Chick Young might indeed become a St Mirren fan. Ok, perhaps not.

Certainly Motherwell would get some erstwhile patrons of Ibrox. The Ayrshire clubs, especially Kilmarnock, would get a lift. Hearts would probably get more people through the gates though I doubt Hibernian would.

Fairly quickly Celtic would start to find that they would be coming up against a clutch of teams capable of beating them.

It would be like having several clubs the size of Hearts in the West of Scotland. The financial disaster prophesied by people like Stewart Regan is shrill and fact free.

The backward multiplier effect of a Rangers free SPL is heavily over stated by these hand-wringing adherents of John Maynard Keynes.

Celtic would, for a while, dominate, but the Parkhead side would not be invincible and these provincial clubs would grow.

The model would be a self-sustaining one with most clubs fielding the product of their own youth systems. Rangers’ financial doping poisoned the well of talented Scottish youth. Murray Park became a training facility for foreign imports not an academy for home-grown talent.

Celtic was forced into a borrowing driven arms race under Martin O’Neill.

A generation after the tax-free steroid enhanced Rangers of the Advocaat years the SPL could see more and more players like James Forrest and James McCarthy breaking through into the top flight while still in their teens.

In the 1980s when Rangers were enfeebled the new firm was in their pomp and Celtic had real competition from Aberdeen and Dundee United and Hearts came within a whisker of winning the double.

Apart from the lifting up of several provincial clubs there would be a wider societal benefit from the extinction of Rangers.

What WOULD be gone in a landscape without Rangers would be a gathering point for anti-Irish racism and anti-Catholic hatred in Scotland.

Although there would be ex-RFC fans supporting these other clubs they wouldn’t be facilitated in their ethno-religious hatred which seems to define their very existence.

Ex-RFC fans attending these clubs would find Pepperamis in green wrappers, eggs Benedict on the lunchtime menu and, whisper it, a player from the Republic of Ireland in their first team.

Rangers have been the nexus for much of the anti-Irish racism that has characterised modern Scotland in my lifetime.
Without this grand central stain of poison Scottish football and Scottish society will be the better for it.

In fact I can think of no better bit of national housekeeping as the independence question is about to be asked.
Rangers, a creation of Imperialist North Britain, are an embarrassing bit of baggage that the new Scotland can do without.

Written by Phil Mac Giolla Bhain

Phil Mac Giolla Bhain is an author, blogger, journalist and writer based in Donegal, Ireland. He has broken some of the most high-profile stories in recent times regarding Scottish Football. From the Hugh Dallas email scandal to the Rangers tax issue, the Neil Lennon letter bomb attacks not to mention tackling the racist Famine Song. Phil has written for the likes of the, Caledonian Mercury, Celtic View, Guardian, Magill, Irish Independent and the Irish Post. Phil is an active member of the NUJ sitting on the Irish Executive Council and the New Media Industrial Council.

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