THE saga over the future of Rangers and where they will play next season has dragged Raith Rovers vice chairman Turnbull Hutton back into the media spotlight.
Scottish Premier League (SPL) clubs yesterday (Wednesday) rejected a bid by ‘newco’ Rangers to be admitted into the top tier of Scottish football, leaving the Glasgow side with the option of applying to join the Scottish Football League (SFL).
But Hutton is unhappy the problem has been dumped on the SFL clubs, with pressure appearing to be put on them by SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster to allow Rangers entry to the First Division.
Doncaster was invited to attend a meeting of SFL clubs at Hampden Park on Tuesday where he outlined possible future scenarios for the game in Scotland.
This included a drop into Division One or Division Three - the second he said would ‘’inflict massive damage on the whole of the game in Scotland, and effectively punish 41 innocent clubs for the misdeeds of one.”
That’s been seen by many to be an attempt to persuade SFL clubs to accept the option of Rangers entering the First Division, or to face dire consequences.
But Hutton is having none of it.
He has indicated he will not be changing his position and has strongly criticised the SPL’s handling of the whole issue.
He said: “In essence, the SPL is like a dead parrot. It’s financially unsustainable - so it’s hardly up to the First Division to sustain that.
“There could be a recognition from the top that accepts the SPL is dead, so let’s wind it up.
“It hasn’t worked for the past 14 years. It has been a failure. It’s all gone belly-up. Let’s start again.”
He said a lot of information was given at the meeting, but he couldn’t be sure of its accuracy.
And while various opinions were expressed, his position coming out was the same as when he went in – that Rangers should not be admitted to the First Division.
Hutton added: “Some people might have been swayed, but our position is unchanged.
“This is a problem of the SPL’s making, but here we are, SFL clubs, where we seem to be the last resort to solve a problem that’s not of our own making.
“They pushed the decision on to a group that had nothing whatsoever to do with it.”
“Now the pressure is on First Division clubs to find a way out of this. I just think that is wholly wrong.”
The SFL clubs will meeting again next week when a vote might be taken on whether Rangers should be admitted to the First Division. Sixteen of the 30 member clubs would have to vote in favour for that to happen.
As well as Raith, Stirling Albion, East Fife, Stranraer, Falkirk, Dunfermline, Livingston, Clyde and Peterhead have all indicated they would vote against such a move.