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‘THIS HAS NEVER BEEN A RANGERS – CELTIC THING,’ INSISTS IBROX BOSS

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STEWART ROBERTSON has dismissed claims Rangers are attempting to prevent Celtic from being awarded their ninth successive title.

The Ibrox side are demanding an independent investigation into the SPFL resolution to end the Premiership season early as they did with the three leagues outwith the top flight last month.

Managing director Robertson and the Govan outfit passed on a “dossier of evidence” to their member clubs yesterday, as Scotzine reported.

Gers are hoping they get enough backing – 75 per cent support from the 42 clubs – at an extraordinary general meeting on Tuesday.

Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers have already been handed the titles for their respective divisions while the Parkhead side are on the brink of being awarded the Premiership crown. The Hoops were 13 points ahead with eight games to play when football went into cold storage in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

Neil Lennon’s men required a maximum five wins in their remaining games – two against Rangers – to lift the 51st flag in their history.

The Parkhead club will almost certainly receive the title if the campaign cannot come to a conclusion and, naturally, that has upset the Ibrox legions.

However, Robertson, who is an SPFL board member, insisted his club’s motivations were a concern about corporate governance at the governing body and a desire to force through positive change.

He claimed clubs had been treated without respect since the shutdown and described the standard of executive leadership as the worst he had ever witnessed in five separate spells on the board.

Gers had also called for the immediate suspension of chief executive Neil Doncaster and the body’s legal adviser Rod McKenzie.

Robertson, speaking to the Glasgow Evening Times, said: “To be absolutely clear this has never been a Rangers-Celtic thing. I can get why people are maybe thinking the narrative is ‘we didn’t want Celtic to be awarded the league title’. I understand that it’s obviously the case that people would say that.

“We always wanted to play the games if practically possible given everything that’s going on and the challenges everyone is facing in their lives right now. We would rather play the games.

“As time goes on, that’s looking less likely to happen. We’re all pragmatic about that. This is about looking at Scottish football as a whole and looking at the greater good.

“This isn’t about Rangers and Celtic, it’s about the governance of our game and having faith that when we come out of this pandemic and this crisis that we have the right leaders to take us forward and people with energy, good ideas, creativity and commercial nous that is going to help us generate revenues we’ll need to replace some of the revenues we’ll need coming out of this.

“People are going to look at the world from a different viewpoint because the world is going to be different after this. The transfer market will be different, the broadcast market, everything. We will need to be as flexible as possible.

“What we can’t be is in a situation where the first answer you get to every question is ‘no you can’t do that, you’re not allowed to do that in the rules’. Well, let’s look at changing the rules then. That’s one of my frustrations and this has really brought it to the boil.”

Robertson added: “This procedure and process showed absolutely no respect for those members who aren’t on the board. This is about doing the best for Scottish football, it’s not about me being on a crusade for Rangers against anyone in particular.

“It’s about looking at the governance of the game. I’ve now had five stints on the SPL or SPFL board between 2003 and now – this is the worst the governance has been by a country mile.”

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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