Rovers relief as Pars stay in Division One

The SFL vote to put Rangers into the 3rd Division.  Turnball Hutton of Raith Rovers leaving the press conference at Hampden today. Picture Robert Perry The Scotsman 13th July 2012
The SFL vote to put Rangers into the 3rd Division. Turnball Hutton of Raith Rovers leaving the press conference at Hampden today. Picture Robert Perry The Scotsman 13th July 2012

RAITH Rovers breathed a sigh of relief this week when the SPL confirmed that Dundee - and not Dunfermline - were to replace Rangers in the top division.

The Kirkcaldy club had faced the prospect of losing its two biggest gates next season had the Pars been offered the chance to rejoin the league they were relegated from last season.

However, Dundee’s promotion has avoided a potential financial headache, and the club is now looking forward to the prospect of four Fife derbies at Stark’s Park next season, with Cowdenbeath also in the First Division.

When asked if keeping the derbies was a relief, Raith director Turnbull Hutton replied: “Yes is the short answer.

“In the wider debate it would have been petty for us to have a preference, but obviously it would have been disappointing to lose Dunfermline because we’ve built that into our budget.

“Of course, we’d also budgeted for having Dundee in the league, who will bring a bigger crowd than Airdrie.

“But the issue over budgets is not just something that affects us - the whole of Scottish football has been affected in one way or another by all the upheaval.

“Every club’s budget assumptions will be changing.”

Hutton has been hailed a hero by fans across the country for his firm stance against proposals to place newco Rangers in Division One, which included a promise of league reconstruction that would result in an expanded top flight.

“My understanding is that those proposals have now been taken off the table,” Hutton said.

“It just goes to show how serious they were about implementing these changes in the first place.

“The cynic in me could suggest that it was a blackmail attempt to a solve a problem, only for the drawbridge to go up again once Rangers were promoted.

“However, there is a campaign for change, for bigger leagues and and fresher competition, that the authorities will ignore at their peril.

“But all we have is a lot of posturing among certain people in high profile jobs who are desperately trying to salvage something from this mess.”

“Whether they are successful or not time will tell.”